ALEXANDRIA, VA, April 1, 2014 — As National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) and US Representative Charlie Dent (R-PA) released a new public service announcement encouraging viewers to schedule their own colonoscopies, in consultation with their physicians, and talk to their friends and family about the importance of early detection. That announcement, and other information about colorectal cancer, is available on ASCA’s Advancing Surgical Care Campaign web site at www.advancingsurgicalcare.org.
“Today, I remind you to get a colonoscopy and ensure that your loved ones know the importance of early screening,” Representative Dent says in the video. “We lost my brother-in-law to this terrible disease and I saw how painful and difficult it was on my family.”
Rep. Dent is the sponsor of the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (H.R. 1070). The proposed legislation would correct an oversight in current law that requires Medicare beneficiaries to cover the cost of their copayment for a free screening colonoscopy if a polyp is discovered and removed during the procedure.
“ASCA strongly endorses H.R. 1070, and Representative Dent’s advocacy for colorectal cancer screening will save lives,” William Prentice, chief executive officer of ASCA, stated. “We are thankful for his efforts on this critical issue.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths from colorectal cancer have declined for more than two decades, mostly because of increased screenings, including colonoscopies and other tests. However, this preventable disease continues to kill 50,000 Americans each year and is the leading cause of cancer death among nonsmokers. The CDC estimates that if all precancerous polyps were identified and removed before becoming cancerous, the number of new colorectal cancer cases could be reduced by 76 to 90 percent.
Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) play a vital role in ensuring patient access to preventive measures, such as colonoscopies, in a convenient and affordable setting. Today, ASCs perform more than 40 percent of colonoscopies covered by Medicare. They have the capacity to do more: when these life-saving procedures are performed in ASCs, both beneficiaries and the Medicare program save money because surgery centers perform the procedures at a lower cost.
About ASCs: ASCs are an integral part of the health care system, providing critical access to surgical and diagnostic care, including preventive services. As essential Medicare providers of surgical and cancer screening services, ASCs perform more than 40 percent of Medicare colonoscopies.
About the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA): ASCA is working to raise awareness of the important role that ASCs play in the US health care system and the high-quality, cost-effective care that ASCs provide. For more about ASCA, go to ascassociation.org.