Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

November 19, 2009 - The American College of Radiology (ACR) said in a statement on its Web site (www.acr.org) that it is pleased to see that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has reaffirmed that mammography is a vital and lifesaving tool in the battle against breast cancer.

Sebelius noted that the recommendations made by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) that women in their 40s should avoid routine mammograms is not government policy and has caused a great deal of confusion.

The ACR strongly urges women and providers to continue to adhere to the current American Cancer Society and American College of Radiology policies regarding mammographic screening.

Because the Task Force is referenced in healthcare reform legislation as a significant factor in determining which preventative services may be offered under government "insurance exchanges" outlined in the legislation, the ACR urges Secretary Sebelius to "officially ask the Task Force to rescind their mammography recommendations in order to avoid confusion as healthcare reform moves forward."

The ACR is also asking the HHS for "a more inclusive process" when developing such recommendations.

"We also urge HHS to include in the USPSTF experts from the areas on which they will be advising lawmakers and submit their recommendations for comment and review to outside stakeholders in similar fashion to rules enacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A more inclusive process can only benefit Americans as we seek to improve our health care system," said the ACR.

For more information: www.acr.org

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