If a mammogram is interpreted as “Suspicious” or “Highly Suggestive of Malignancy” (a positive mammogram) the mammography report and lay summary are to be provided as soon as possible. Previously issued guidance mentions 3-5 days. Is that measured from the date of the mammogram or the date the mammogram was interpreted as positive?
The 3-5 day time period should start from the date that a facility interprets the mammogram as positive. In guidance we state that a facility should notify referring healthcare providers and patients within 3-5 days and that the facility should be able to justify its actions if it takes longer. Some facilities have incorrectly interpreted this guidance as referring to 3-5 days from the date of the performance of the mammogram rather than 3-5 days from the date the mammogram is interpreted as being positive.
Because the regulations do not identify when a facility is required to read the mammogram (only that the mammography report and lay summary must be sent within 30 days after the mammogram is performed), the facility should use the mammography report date, notthe mammogram exam date, to determine if it has made reasonable attempts to communicate the positive mammogram results as soon as possible.
Example:A facility performs a mammogram on 10/1/2007 which is read and interpreted on 10/12/2007. The mammography assessment for this mammogram is Suspicious (a positive mammogram). The facility mails both the patient lay summary and the mammography report on 10/14/2007. The facility has met the requirement to make reasonable attempts to communicate the positive mammogram results as soon as possible because it has provided the mammography report and the patient lay summary within two days of making the assessment that the mammogram was positive. Furthermore, it has met the requirement that the mammography report and the patient lay summary be provided within 30 days of the date of the examination.