Posted by boston.com November 12, 2013 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by Carol Kerbaugh:
Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital, members of Lahey Health, announced today that they began offering free, low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung screenings to qualifying high-risk patients this November. The screening programs are modeled after Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s program, which was the first hospital in New England and one of the only medical centers in the nation offering this life-saving screening to high-risk patients.
“The expansion of our free lung screening program will save lives on the North Shore and open the doors to equal access to care for qualifying high-risk individuals,” said Denis Conroy, Chief Executive Officer of Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals. “We are proud to be leading the way in New England and around the country by offering this live-saving program throughout Lahey Health’s service area.”
Lung cancer kills more Americans annually than breast, colorectal and prostate cancers combined. According to the National Lung Screening Trial, LDCT lung screenings could prevent at least one in five lung cancer deaths in a high-risk population and could save 12,000 lives every year.
“Our number one priority is ensuring that our patients stay healthy and get the best care possible,” said Dr. Fares Mouchantaf, pulmonologist at Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals, and Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “This innovative screening program will allow us to detect lung cancer early, create an effective treatment plan and increase our patients’ likelihood of surviving cancer.”
Lahey Outpatient Center in Danvers, a satellite facility of Beverly Hospital, and Addison Gilbert Hospital will offer the screenings to patients who meet criteria consistent with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for high-risk patients. Patients will be given the test free of charge, regardless of their insurance status, geographic residence or primary care affiliation. Patients will be required to obtain a doctor’s order before being screened. If there are findings requiring follow-up, the patient has the option to receive further assessment or treatment wherever they choose.
Lahey Hospital & Medical Center began its free LDCT lung screening program in January 2012, and the structure and initial results were published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology in April 2013. Since the program began, the hospital has screened over 1,600 patients and seen similar results to those reported in the National Lung Screening Trial, which revealed that participants who received LDCT scans had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from lung cancer than participants who received standard chest X-rays.
In July 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued draft recommendations for lung cancer screenings, giving annual LDCT scans for high-risk individuals a B recommendation. A provision in the Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover the cost of preventative services given an A or B recommendation from the USPSTF. This means that when the recommendations are finalized, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and commercial insurers will be required to establish a reimbursement system on a broad scale for individuals at high-risk for lung cancer.
About Lahey Health
Lahey Health is what’s next in healthcare providing a full continuum of integrated health services close to where you live or work. It comprises nationally recognized, award-winning hospitals—including an academic hospital and medical center, and community hospitals—primary care providers, specialist physicians, behavioral health services, post-acute programs such as home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, and senior care resources located throughout northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
Lahey Health offers nearly 1,000 locally based physicians, providing clinical excellence and an exceptional patient experience in adult and pediatric primary care and every medical specialty, including kidney and liver transplantation; cancer, cardiovascular and orthopedic medical and surgical care; local emergency and trauma care; urological surgery; chronic disease prevention and health management; and pediatric emergency, newborn and inpatient care provided in collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital physicians.
Lahey Health includes Lahey Hospital & Medical Center—a teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine—and Lahey Clinic physician group with practices in Burlington, Peabody and other locations throughout northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Beverly Hospital; Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, Mass.; Lahey Health Senior Care and Lahey Health Behavioral Services as well as more than 30 primary care physician practices and multiple outpatient and satellite specialty care facilities.
For more information, visit LaheyHealth.org and its member websites at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Beverly Hospital, Addison Gilbert, and Lahey Health Behavioral Services.