Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How Stupid is the USPTF?

First they did away with mammograms. Women went ballistic. Then they did away with PSA tests. Men were silent. Now they are doing away with vision testing for the elderly. At least the JAMA folks complained.

The USPTF states as of today:

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released today a final recommendation statement on screening for impaired visual acuity in older adults. The Task Force concludes that the evidence is insufficient to make a recommendation for or against screening in older adults without reported vision problems within a primary care setting.

In contrast JAMA states:

In 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concluded that there was insufficient evidence to warrant recommending visual acuity screening of older adults. A recent update, published in JAMA,1 reaches the same conclusion. How (one might ask) can that be, especially as the USPSTF also concluded that impaired vision is common among elderly adults and that the major causes of impaired vision that the recommendation targets—refractive error, cataract, and age-related macular degeneration—are prevalent among elderly individuals and responsive (often dramatically) to clinical intervention? 

It appears that these medical wizards always come up with recommendations that impair health and reduce costs. Remember we said seven years ago that this would happen!

Have any of these brains heard of ARMD, dry or wet, it leads to blindness! Any second year medical student should recognize drusen on a retinal exam.  Did these folks ever do one in their life?