House committee examines USPSTF reform, AACU expresses continued support

2016-12-01 | AACU Executive Office

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee convened Nov. 30, 2016, to examine the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force.

The meeting focused on reforms proposed in the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act (Discussion Draft), including those designed to utilize relevant physicians' expertise before draft recommendations on a preventive health service are published, as well as removing any link between a task force recommendation and Medicare payment policy.

Urologist Dr. John Lynch testified on his personal experience as a prostate cancer survivor who "fears that if the USPSTF recommendations were in existence when I was diagnosed, my prostate cancer might have been missed." Dr. Lynch also referred to two studies that found not only are fewer men being tested for prostate cancer since the USPSTF's 2012 recommendation against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer, but fewer cases of early-stage disease are being diagnosed.

Responding to a question from subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA-16), Dr. Lynch spoke about a man he recently diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer that had metastasized to his skeleton. The patient's primary care physician had stopped ordering an annual PSA test in 2012, the same year as the task force's negative assessment. 

AAFP President Dr. John Meigs, Jr., testifying against USPSTF reform, warned that subspecialists' financial interests would taint recommendations and suggested that "treatment expertise does not equal prevention expertise."

Congressman Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN-8), challenged Dr. Meigs' opposition to the measure, asserting that as a heart surgeon, he attempts to "get as many minds thinking on the problem as possible on behalf of the patient." Why not then, the Congressman questioned, invite specialists into the USPSTF recommendation process from the beginning?

Hearing Video Webcast

Witnesses

  • Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo (Website; Testimony)
    Professor of Medicine and of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco; Chairperson, US Preventive Services Task Force
  • Dr. John H. Lynch (Website; Testimony)
    Chairman and Professor, Department of Urology, Georgetown University
  • Dr. John Meigs, Jr. (Website; Testimony)
    President, American Academy of Family Physicians

Additional Statements

Take Action

Specialists, generalists face off at USPSTF hearing (MedPage Today, Nov. 30, 2016)

Bills

  1. HR 1151: USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015