It is clear that we have been applying special focus to events as they relate to the importance of PSA screening, a key tool in the fight against prostate cancer. The issue continues to be relevant throughout the country as new legislature emerges. Recent happenings highlight the New Jersey Legislature as they have successfully approved an act that opposes the negative recommendations made by the United States Preventive Task Force (USPSTF), in regards to PSA testing.
Specifically the act (AJR89/SJR77) asks “the Congress of the United States to seek the withdrawal of the United States Preventative Services Task Force recommendation against prostate-specific antigen-based screening for prostate cancer for men in all age groups ” Not only do the recommendations of the USPSTF discourage and send mixed signals to patients, they furthermore have a direct impact on medical coverage. The Affordable Care Act mandates that preventive services with “A” and “B” ratings receive first dollar coverage from Medicare and Private Health Insurance plans. With a “D” rating, the PSA test faces concerning levels of adversity. Even when a patient is knowledgeable enough to request the test, he may face financial barriers if not covered!
At the International Prostate Cancer Foundation we enthusiastically applaud the efforts and achievements of the New Jersey Patient Care and Access Coalition (NJPCA). Their commitment has lead hundreds of urologists to educate policy makers and key stakeholders on the importance of protecting the health of men in New Jersey. It is with the same effort that we have released a petition urging the USPSTF to withdraw their decision against the use PSA testing. With the goal of serving men nationwide, we encourage you to click here and sign the petition!
We hope that such successes mark the beginning of significant change in this matter. Ultimately we aim to push through further legislation, namely the PROSTATE Act. Drafted by the AUA the Prostate Research, Outreach, Screening, Testing, Access and Effectiveness (PROSTATE) Act fosters an integrated and coordinated approach to the battle against prostate cancer. With a continued and decisive stance, Congress is bound to take notice.