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ai and lung cancer screenings
Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in the U.S. An estimated 127,070 Americans will die from lung cancer in 2023.1 Early detection of lung cancer through low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening has been shown to significantly reduce lung cancer mortality in high-risk populations and is currently recommended annually by the U.S.
5 min read
Chi-Fu Jeffrey Yang, MD, Thoracic Surgery
lung preservation

The landscape around lung transplantation continues to evolve rapidly. Improved surgical techniques and advances in perioperative care complement an ever-expanding array of devices.

4 min read
Brandon A. Guenthart, MD, Stanford Medicine
executive coach

Physicians undergo extensive technical training to develop the required expertise for the responsible care of our patients.

8 min read
Dr. Dawn Hui and Dr. Frank Rosinia

In observance of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, STS participated in a congressional press conference focused on the importance of lung cancer screening hosted on the U.S. Capitol grounds on Thursday, November 16. The event, hosted by Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL), aimed to bring attention to the urgent need to get more people screened for lung cancer. 

Dr. Keith Mortman with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Dr. Keith Mortman with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

STS joined other key stakeholders in the lung cancer community at this event, including LUNGevity Foundation, American Lung Association, GO2 for Lung Cancer, Moffitt Cancer Center, the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).  

STS has a long history of advocating for robust patient access to lung cancer prevention, screenings, and treatment. “Over the past decade, significant progress has been made to expand insurance coverage of lung cancer screening, yet this press conference highlighted that significant challenges remain to increasing screening rates among at-risk individuals,” said Keith Mortman, MD, who participated in the press conference and is a member of the STS Workforce on Health Policy, Reform, and Advocacy. “While innovative treatments for lung cancer are rapidly emerging, not everyone has equal access to these cutting-edge treatments. STS is relentlessly advocating with policymakers in Washington to remove barriers and increase access so our members can offer the highest quality lung cancer care possible.”

To advance this priority, STS has advocated for H.R. 4286, Increasing Access to Lung Cancer Screening Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Brian Higgins (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Kathy Castor (D-FL), that would require all state Medicaid programs to cover lung cancer screenings for eligible enrollees as recommended by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). Urge your lawmakers to support this legislation today.

Nov 16, 2023
2 min read
lung cancer
Dr. Blackmon shares her inspiration for becoming a thoracic surgeon and underscores the importance of lung cancer screenings.
3 min read
Shanda H. Blackmon, MD, MPH
As long as the values of the STS-PAC remain in line with my own, I will continue to contribute to it.
3 min read
David Blitzer, MD
Hear groundbreaking research and insight into the healing powers and medical benefits of forgiveness.
1 hr

On November 2, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule. Despite vocal opposition from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) and many others in the physician community, this rule finalizes a greater than 3% reduction to physician reimbursement beginning January 1, 2024.

When adjusted for inflation, Medicare physician payments have declined by 26% since 2001. This latest reduction is the most recent example of a trend that is unsustainable and impacts patient access to care. These cuts are due to the implementation of the flawed complexity add-on code G2211, combined with expiring temporary relief previously enacted by Congress. The final rule also contains a few positive developments. CMS agreed with STS’s concerns that raising the required threshold to avoid a penalty in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) from 75 to 82 points was inappropriate at this time because the MIPS program has been largely paused since 2019 due the COVID-19 pandemic. CMS also approved several new intraoperative cardiac ultrasound CPT codes (76987–76989) at higher levels than in the proposed rule, which will be available to cardiothoracic surgeons next year.

Fortunately, the Senate Finance Committee recently released a draft legislative proposal that seeks to extend relief payments for physicians that are slated to expire this year. If enacted, this would help counteract a portion of the cuts slated for 2023. STS will continue to urge Congress to halt this unsustainable cut and to enact policies such as H.R. 2474, the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act, which would provide an annual automatic inflation update for physician payments going forward. Help us maintain adequate Medicare reimbursements by contacting your lawmakers now!

Learn more about STS’s advocacy efforts focused on the 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.

Nov 3, 2023
2 min read
Learn how to deploy a strategy to intentionally work with consultants and achieve the highest quality of care.
4 min read
Melanie A. Edwards, MD


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