The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a list of its top preventive care recommendations that were finalized in 2022.
The list is not comprehensive. Rather, USPSTF named the recommendations that the task force expected to have the greatest impact.
“This resource is designed to inform healthcare professionals about important Task Force recommendations including new topics and topics with a change in grade that published between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022,” the task force explained.
There were two new topics that UPSTF introduced and on which the organization offered preventive care recommendations.
First, USPSTF recommended screening for anxiety in children eight and older who do not display symptoms of anxiety. USPSTF gave this recommendation a B grade, meaning that the service has or is moderately expected to have a moderate net benefit. Despite moderate expectations, clinicians are encouraged to offer services that receive a B grade recommendation.
However, the task force found that there was not enough evidence to recommend these screenings in children seven years of age and younger. USPSTF gave this recommendation an I statement, which signifies a lack of sufficient data.
The second new topic that received a finalized recommendation in 2022 was related to screening for depression and suicide risk in children and adolescents. USPSTF assigned a B grade to the recommendation of screening children 12 years and older for depression.
However, there was insufficient evidence to recommend screening children 11 or younger for depression. Additionally, the experts lacked enough data to make a recommendation about screening for suicide risk in children and adolescents who do not display symptoms.
USPSTF also changed the grade level for two established recommendations, which the task force expected to be an impactful decision. Both changes were related to cardiovascular disease preventive services.
The task force issued new grade level recommendations for aspirin use in older adults who have no history or symptoms of cardiovascular disease. For adults between 40 and 59 years of age, the preventive care service was situation-dependent—a C grade recommendation. In some patients, aspirin may be more effective at preventing cardiovascular disease than in others.
For adults 60 years of age and older who lack a history or symptoms of cardiovascular disease, USPSTF recommended against prescribing aspirin. The task force gave this recommendation a D grade and said that patients in this age bracket should not take aspirin as a preventive measure against a first heart attack. These recommendations were finalized in the first half of the year.
Statins may be effective for individuals who have no history of stroke or heart attack and no symptoms of cardiovascular disease depending on age and circumstances.
USPSTF recommended statin use for individuals between 40 and 75 years of age who have no history or symptoms of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks or strokes. The task force assigned a B grade to this recommendation. However, for individuals who are at risk, but not high risk, of cardiovascular disease and who fall within this age range, USPSTF recommended a case-by-case approach (C grade).
The task force did not find enough evidence to issue a recommendation regarding statin use for individuals 76 years and older who have no history or symptoms of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or stroke.
“We encourage healthcare professionals to use this document to guide conversations with patients about the latest preventive services that can help keep people healthy,” the task force shared.
Although USPSTF called the document a “clinical practice update” and highlighted its uses for providers, these recommendations are important for payers as well. USPSTF recommendations guide CMS coverage decisions and inform other payers’ benefits as well.Source: Health Payer Intelligence