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Am J Gastroenterol. 2003 Jan;98(1):194-9.

Volume and yield of screening colonoscopy at a tertiary medical center after change in medicare reimbursement.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226, USA.



Starting July 1, 2001, Medicare began to reimburse for screening colonoscopy in asymptomatic adults older than 50 yr with no risk factors for colorectal cancer. We sought to determine the short-term impact of the change in Medicare reimbursement on the demand for and yield of screening colonoscopy at our tertiary institution.


Asymptomatic patients older than 50 referred for first screening colonoscopy after the change in Medicare reimbursement from July 1, 2001 to December 31, 2001 were compared with a similar cohort screened before Medicare coverage for a family history of cancer or polyps during the same months the previous year (July 1, 2000 to December 31, 2000). Patient demographics, number, size, location, and histology of polyps/cancers for these screening colonoscopies were collected.


A total of 1282 colonoscopies were performed in our institution from July 1, 2001 to December 31, 2001, 257 (20%) for screening. During the same months in the previous year, 121 of 938 colonoscopies (12.9%) were for screening (p < 0.01). This was a 55% increase in the percentage of colonoscopies performed for screening, and a 112% increase in the number of screening colonoscopies. Patients screened after the change in Medicare reimbursement were on average 5 yr older compared with patients of the previous year (62 +/- 10 [mean +/- SD] vs 56 +/- 9 yr; p < 0.01). A total of 61 screening colonoscopies (24%) performed after the change in Medicare reimbursement had adenomatous lesions, compared with 25 (21%) screened for family history (p = ns). The number of adenomas 10 mm or larger or cancers did not differ significantly between the two groups (17 in 2001 vs 12 in 2000; p = ns). Age of 65 or older was associated with detection of adenomatous lesions (OR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.01-2.9013).


Since the change in Medicare reimbursement, there has been a significant increase in the number and proportion of colonoscopies performed for screening at our institution. Patients screened since this change are older, and the detection rate of neoplastic lesions is similar to those previously screened for a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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