New registry set up for PET scans

May 8, 2006

The National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR) will officially launchon May 8, allowing coverage for Medicare beneficiaries who need PETscans for all types of cancers.

The National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR) will officially launch on May 8, allowing coverage for Medicare beneficiaries who need PET scans for all types of cancers. The positron emission tomography (PET) imaging shows differences between healthy and diseased tissues in the body and can be used for the diagnosing, staging, and monitoring of cancer and other neurological and cardiac disorders. More than 600 PET facilities around the country are already registered as part of the NOPR program, which will collect data to allow for better assessment of the impact of PET on the management of cancer patients. Under the new program, referring physicians are required to complete a short questionnaire before and after the PET scan; the questionnaires will be submitted electronically to the NOPR database. Responses will then be sent to CMS as a condition for payment and will be used to assess the effect of PET results on the physician's choice of subsequent treatment. Previously, Medicare provided coverage for only a few types of cancer.

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