The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has accepted a formal request to initiate a National Coverage Analysis (NCA) for screening for cervical cancer using a combination of Pap smear and human papillomavirus testing. As noted on the NCA tracking sheet, this screening pathway is recommended with a grade A by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) at intervals of five years for women age 30 to 65. The requester is the board chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Jeffrey J. Cain, M.D. CMS currently covers a screening pelvic exam and Pap smear for all female beneficiaries at 12 to 24 month intervals depending on specific risk factors. According to Cain’s letter requesting the new benefit, women 30 to 65 years of age may lengthen their screening interval to five years, rather than the three years currently recommended by the USPSTF if the two tests are used in combination. CMS may, under 42 CFR 410.64, cover additional preventive services if it determines through the national coverage determination process that the service is recommended with a grade A or grade B rating by the USPSTF. The public comment period ends on Dec. 25, and the expected NCA completion date is Aug. 23, 2015. The NCA tracking sheet can be found on the CMS Web site ( www.cms.gov
) in the Medicare coverage database section.