Men’s Health Network Submits Comments for the Record Urging Action on Bill Creating Greater Oversight on Federal Health Task Force
11/30/16 WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, November 30, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing to discuss H.R. 1151, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016.Men’s Health Network (MHN) will continue to urge Congress to act on this legislation to improve the recommendation process of the USPSTF as it impacts the health and wellness of men and their families.
In addition to participating in the hearing, MHN will provide comments for the record supporting the bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL). H.R. 1151 calls for greater transparency and input on recommendations made by the USPSTF—a federal task force composed of national medical experts whose recommendations influence healthcare providers and both public and private insurance coverage decisions.
The USPSTF issues recommendations on a wide range of preventive health services for conditions including testicular cancer, osteoporosis, prostate cancer, depression, and breast cancer, among others. In many cases, these preventive services lead to patients avoiding a life-changing illness or diagnosing it early enough to save their lives.
“MHN appreciates the efforts of Reps. Blackburn and Rush to improve the USPSTF review process by incorporating the input of additional experts,” said Brandon Leonard, VP of Strategic Initiatives at MHN. “USPSTF’s recommendations yield significant influence over health policy and should be subject to a more collaborative review process that takes into account more data on the experiences of patients.”
The proposed legislation would provide for a more open and transparent review process by requiring the USPSTF to establish an advisory board composed of patients groups, clinical services providers, and appropriate federal agencies. The bill requires that the Task Force coordinate efforts with federal agencies when creating research plans and would make comments submitted on recommendation statements, research plans and evidence reviews available to the public.
“I am sure that the PSA test, along with the major cancers that we screen for including breast, colon, and lungs, saves lives. The recent recommendations by the Task Force are short-sighted. It took the tools that physicians and medical professionals had to diagnose patients out of our hands. The recommendations don’t have the input from key groups including patients and primary care doctors,” said Dr. Tom Rogers M.D., CEO of Performance Medicine. “We spend most of our healthcare dollars on the last year of a person’s life—it would be much more cost effective to focus on prevention."
“Early detection is the onramp for healthy living. People should have options—they should have options in knowing their health and wellness so they can make informed decisions,” said Darrell Sabbs, legislative affairs and community benefit manager for Phoebe Health Systems. “Early detection and prevention are so important and valuable to our community and to our customer base.”
About Men’s Health Network Men's Health Network (MHN) is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health awareness messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation. Learn more about MHN at www.menshealthnetwork.org and follow them on Twitter @MensHlthNetwork and Facebook at www.facebook.com/menshealthnetwork. For more information on MHN's ongoing Dialogue on Men's Health series, visit www.dialogueonmenshealth.com