Senators Request PET Expansion Under Medicare

May 5, 2004

Senators Request PET Expansion Under Medicare

U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS), along with 35 of their Senate colleagues, are urging U.S. Health and Human Services Department Secretary Tommy Thompson to make PET available to Medicare beneficiaries for diagnosis of seven cancers in addition to the cancers already covered. Senators Feinstein and Brownback are co-chairs of the Senate Cancer Coalition.

The letter concludes:

    Over the past five years CMS has made numerous national coverage decisions on PET for cancer. This has been a lengthy process for CMS and providers. Now that the majority of cancers are covered by CMS, it would be impracticable to submit individual coverage requests for all of the dozens of remaining rare cancer indications. We believe that for the seven additional cancer indications: pancreatic, brain, small cell lung, cervical, ovarian, testicular and multiple myeloma, CMS should lift the national non-coverage status, and leave coverage of PET up to local Medicare carrier medical policy.

(See below for the full text of the letter.)

The other 35 Senators joining Senators Feinstein and Brownback in sending this letter include: Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Norm Coleman (R-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jon S. Corzine (D-NJ), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Bob Graham (D-FL), Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), John F. Kerry (D-MA), Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), Blanche L. Lincoln (D-AR), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Rick Santorum (R-PA), Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ted Stevens (R-AK), John Warner (R-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

4/28/2004 Letter to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson