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David S. Ettinger, MD, FACP, FCCP


CMS to Expand Eligibility Criteria for Low-Dose CT Screening for Lung Cancer

By: JNCCN 360 Staff
Posted: Friday, February 11, 2022

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a national coverage determination that expands coverage for lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) to improve health outcomes for people with lung cancer. This screening is aimed at early detection of non–small cell lung cancer.

This final decision expands eligibility for people with Medicare to undergo lung cancer screening with low-dose CT by lowering the starting age for screening from 55 to 50 years and by reducing the tobacco smoking history from at least 30 packs per year to at least 20 packs per year. Medicare beneficiaries are also eligible for such screening if they are asymptomatic or are current smokers (or have quit smoking within the past 15 years).

“Expanding coverage broadens access for lung cancer screening to at-risk populations,” said CMS Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality Lee Fleisher, MD. “[This] decision not only expands access to quality care but is also critical to improving health outcomes for people by helping to detect lung cancer earlier.”

Furthermore, the final decision simplifies requirements for the counseling and shared decision-making visit. In addition, based on public comments received on the proposed national coverage determination and additional review, this decision removes the requirement for reading radiologists to document participation in continuing medical education, thereby reducing administrative burdens on providers. The CMS also added back a requirement to the national coverage determination criteria for radiology imaging facilities to use a standardized lung nodule identification, classification, and reporting system.

To read the full final decision, visit the CMS website at

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