Back to Top Skip to main content

New 3-D mammogram option the next step in diagnosis, treatment

Chief Hospital Corpsman Naomi Perez, a certified mammogram technician (left), conducts a mammogram for a patient at Naval Hospital Pensacola. A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray procedure used to detect the early stages of breast cancer. A policy change effective Jan. 1, 2020, will allow digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, to be used to screen for breast cancer. The procedure – known technically as Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) – will be offered primarily to women age 40 and older, and women age 30 and older who are considered high-risk for breast cancer.  The procedure’s 3-D images provide a more thorough means of detecting the disease. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan) Chief Hospital Corpsman Naomi Perez, a certified mammogram technician (left), conducts a mammogram for a patient at Naval Hospital Pensacola. A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray procedure used to detect the early stages of breast cancer. A policy change effective Jan. 1, 2020, will allow digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, to be used to screen for breast cancer. The procedure – known technically as Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) – will be offered primarily to women age 40 and older, and women age 30 and older who are considered high-risk for breast cancer. The procedure’s 3-D images provide a more thorough means of detecting the disease. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan)

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Women's Health

After nearly a year’s effort, a policy change effective Jan. 1, 2020, will allow digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, to be used to screen for breast cancer. While the procedure may not be offered at all military treatment facilities, the expanded benefit will be available as a screening and diagnostic tool for beneficiaries with TRICARE coverage.

The procedure – known technically as digital breast tomosynthesis or DBT – will be offered to primarily women age 40 and older, and women age 30 and older who are considered high-risk for breast cancer. Practitioners can offer DBT to other patients should a diagnosis determine the presence of a risk factor

The procedure’s three-dimensional images provide a more thorough means of detecting the disease – particularly in patients with dense breast tissue. The digital breast tomosynthesis technique is similar to that of a CT (computed tomography) scan. The source of the CT X-ray repeatedly sweeps over the breast at spaced intervals. The final imagery offers a cross section of “slices,” or adjacent segments, of tissue.

"Mammography is the gold standard in detecting breast cancer, and the DHA is pleased to bring this advanced form of imaging to our patients," said Dr. Paul Cordts, chief medical officer for the Defense Health Agency. "We know how important it is to our patients to have access to the latest technology to improve their health outcomes. Digital breast tomosynthesis allows for earlier detection and diagnosis of smaller cancers and, if discovered early, it opens up more options to treat it quickly while in a nascent stage, with improved outcomes and potentially less side effects."

According to Amber Butterfield of TRICARE’s Medical Benefits Reimbursement office in Aurora, Colorado, the expanded benefit for breast cancer screenings is allowed through provisional coverage authorized by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffrey. Provisional coverage is a special authority that allows extension of coverage for items that are undergoing evaluation or have beneficial effects not yet proven.

Between 2016 and 2018, roughly 80,000 TRICARE beneficiaries were diagnosed with either malignant abnormal growths of the breast, called carcinomas, or pre-cancerous cells, called neoplasms. To address this, leaders at the DHA were determined to find a way to expand breast cancer screenings using the DBT technology, while adhering to congressional requirements as they pertain to provisional authority.

“By regulation, TRICARE follows guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for preventive services,” Dr. James Black, medical director of the Clinical Support Division at DHA, said. “This includes the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which gives recommendations on provisional preventive services.”

Although the task force has yet to recommend DBT for cancer screening, the decision by DHA leadership to expand DBT to annual cancer screenings was made a year ago. Since the USPSTF does not currently recommend DBT as a more effective screening tool than 2-D mammography, the DHA had to find a way to offer coverage under current statutes that govern what health services TRICARE can provide beneficiaries.

Black cited the efforts of retired Navy Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, the former DHA director, along with subject-matter experts from the services, who provided guidance that led to the provisional adaptation of DBT coverage.

Their focus included which commercial insurance carriers cover DBT and other coverage criteria. From there, DHA’s medical benefits and reimbursement section put together a provisional coverage determination and submitted it to the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs – who, by law, is the approval authority for any such changes. The coverage determination was approved in September and coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2020.

Although the task force has yet to recommend 3-D breast DBT for cancer screening, DHA leadership is confident that within the five years DBT has been approved on provisional authority, the USPTF will obtain enough research to reach a firm recommendation.

Beneficiaries who have questions about DBT services offered in locations convenient to them should contact their TRICARE provider or regional customer service call center.

You also may be interested in...

Pharmacy Guidance for Market MTFs

Publication
3/31/2020

Message to Pharmacy Beneficiaries regarding military pharmacy services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Pharmacy Division | TRICARE Health Program

Tiered Telehealth Health Care Support for COVID-19

Publication
3/31/2020

This memorandum establishes guidance for the use of Telehealth (TH) Information Technology (IT) tools in support of the clinical care required for patients across the spectrum of COVID-19 illness

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Public Health | Coronavirus

Possible changes at MTF pharmacies in response to COVID-19

Article
3/31/2020
A military pharmacist choosing medication from a shelf

Find out the latest pharmacy policies at MTFs

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | TRICARE Health Program

Policy Exception for Telehealth Use for ABA during COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication
3/30/2020

Communication to ABA Providers Regarding Temporary Authorization to Utilize Telehealth for CPT Code 97156 During the COVID-19 National Emergency

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Autism Care Demonstration | TRICARE Health Program

Q & A: Policy Exception for Telehealth Use for ABA during COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication
3/30/2020

Question and Answer: TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration (ACD): Regarding Temporary Authorization to Utilize Telehealth for CPT Code 97156 during the COVID-19 National Emergency

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Autism Care Demonstration | TRICARE Health Program

Female, male service members, veterans recover from concussion differently

Article
3/6/2020
At an informal celebration at the AFWERX Vegas Innovation Hub earlier this month, U.S. Air Force personnel took delivery of four helmet designs that may each represent the next generation of fixed-wing aircrew equipment. In just nine months, the AFWERX innovations process generated tangible products for further Air Force testing and development. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nathan Riddle)

Female veterans may have a harder time performing some mental tasks after a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Women's Health | Men's Health | Brain Injury Awareness

Report on Requirement for Certain Former Members of the Armed Forces to Enroll in Medicare Part B to be Eligible for TFL; TRICARE Access Study; and Improving Health Care Choices for Severely Injured Service Members

Congressional Testimony
3/2/2020

H.R. 5515, NDAA Conference Report for FY 2019, 115-874, Sec. 734; H.R. 5515, HASC Report for FY 2019, 115-676 ,Pg. 132; S 2987, SASC Report for FY 2019, 115-262, Pg. 223

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

MHS Minute February 2020

Video
2/25/2020
MHS Minute February 2020

Thanks for tuning in to the MHS Minute! This month, we highlight a historical moment in #MilitaryHealth history, as Defense Health Agency (DHA) established the first four health care markets in the military medical enterprise. We also take a look at the Military Health System (MHS) response to Novel Coronavirus -- learn more about what Madigan Army Medical Center is doing to combat the threat of illness by going to mamc.health.mil.

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | TRICARE Health Program | Coronavirus

TRICARE Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration Program FY 2020

Congressional Testimony
2/21/2020

S. 2943, SASC Report for FY 2017, 114-255, Pg. 205

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Autism Care Demonstration

Pilot Program on Incentive Programs to Improve Health Care Provided Under the TRICARE Program

Congressional Testimony
2/18/2020

S. 1356, NDAA Conference Report for FY 2016, Joint Explanatory Statement Sec. 726

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Calendar Year 2020

Policy

Memo outlining the TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses for calendar year 2020. These rates will be effective January l, 2020.

MHS Minute January 2020

Video
1/21/2020
MHS Minute January 2020

Thanks for tuning in to the *NEW* MHS Minute! Check back each month to learn about more exciting events and achievements by organizations and partners across the Military Health System!

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | TRICARE Health Program

HPV vaccine age limit raised by FDA to age 45

Article
1/14/2020
https://www.nfid.org/infectious-diseases/hpv/ Recent CDC and FDA guidance recommends that men and women up to 45 years of age get vaccinated to protect against the Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection and can cause certain cancers and genital warts. More than 14 million new HPV infections occur in the U.S. each year, and about 80 percent of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some point in their lives. (National Foundation for Infectious Diseases image)

HPV shot protects against a host of diseases in men, women

Recommended Content:

Conditions and Treatments | Health Readiness | Preventive Health | Men's Health | Women's Health | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations

Changes in TRICARE Plan Enrollment (July 2019)

Report
1/9/2020

To assess the impact of plan changing in TRICARE, we examined data from the first quarter of the 2019 Health Care Survey of Department of Defense Beneficiaries (HCSDB), which was fielded during open enrollment.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Survey of DoD Beneficiaries | TRICARE Health Program

Achievements in 2019 provide strong foundation for year ahead

Article
12/23/2019
A Year in Review: Year of Military Health 2019

Dedication, commitment to mission praised as changes continue

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | MHS GENESIS | Research and Innovation | Preventive Health | MHS Transformation
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 20

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing | Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.