Vanderbilt Lung Screening Program
If you are a patient interested in learning more about lung screening, you can learn more here.
The Vanderbilt Lung Screening Program is a comprehensive program that offers annual lung screening CT and management by a Radiology NP who performs a shared decision making visit with the patient, offers tobacco cessation counseling, informs patients and referring providers of CT results, assists with referrals to specialists, tracks patients for follow-up compliance, and sends reminders to patients for annual follow-up screenings.
As part of an overall health plan, lung screening is an effective detection tool for patients at elevated risk for lung cancer. Lung screening uses low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) resulting in either positive or negative signs of lung cancer. Early detection is one of the most powerful tools to reduce the risk of lung cancer death while negative results can give your patient peace of mind, aiding their overall health.
Using ACR-accredited imaging facilities, the Vanderbilt Lung Screening Program has performed more than 3,000 lung screening tests since 2013. Our team of highly trained radiologists, nurse practitioners, and technologists will provide your patient with the best possible care.
Appointments and Vanderbilt Lung Screening Clinical Questions
Phone: (615) 322-0580
Fax: (615) 936-5343
Click here or the image below to download our brochure.
CT for lung screening is recommended for patients who meet high-risk for lung cancer criteria. The current criteria are:
- Ages 50 to 80
- Current or former smokers with 20 or more pack year history who have smoked in the past 15 years
Screening can detect lung cancer before symptoms develop and the disease spreads. Early detection of lung cancer by annual LDCT has been shown to reduce lung cancer mortality by 20 percent in this high-risk population.
Patients who meet high risk for lung cancer criteria should be screened annually from 50 to 80 years old.
Shared Decision Making Visit
Medicare and private insurance companies require that a patient meet with a provider prior to their CT for lung screening to confirm the patient’s smoking history and that specific risks and benefits of the test are discussed in detail with the patient. Providers may choose to provide the Shared Decision Making Consultation themselves. If you wish to do so, please email Alexis Paulson for further instructions. Otherwise, the Radiology Nurse Practitioner provides this service on the day of the imaging test. In addition to the mandated topics of the visit, tobacco cessation counseling is provided
Vanderbilt providers may refer to our program through eStar by searching in the Medications & Orders field for ”lung cancer screening” or any combination of these words. This new orderable sets the patient up for their required Shared Decision Making Consult with our NP*, which is completed prior to the CT.
Select CT imaging location on the order. This will route the order directly to the correct scheduling queue for our outpatient locations. Please note, lung screenings are not performed at VUH.
We encourage providers to use Z87.891 (personal history of tobacco use) as the diagnosis for lung screening as it is accepted by Medicare and most private insurances without difficulty.
Once a patient has been referred they will be enrolled in our program, and we will order all future annual follow-up screenings within current CMS/USPSTF recommendations. Abnormalities on screening exams and recommendations will be communicated, and any diagnostic follow-up exam orders and/or referrals to pulmonology will be requested from referring providers. We are able to navigate patients to the Vanderbilt Lung Nodule Clinic, if requested, and appointments are typically available within five business days.
*Providers may choose to provide the Shared Decision Making Consultation themselves. If you wish to do so, please email Alexis Paulson for further instructions.
Vanderbilt Lung Screening Locations
Vanderbilt One Hundred Oaks Imaging
719 Thompson Lane, Suite 23300
Nashville, TN 37204
Vanderbilt Hillsboro Imaging
1909 Acklen Avenue
Nashville, TN 37212
Vanderbilt Cool Springs Imaging
2009 Mallory Lane, Suite 150
Franklin, TN 37067
Vanderbilt Outpatient Diagnostic Center
337 22nd Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37203
How does it work?
During the appointment your patient will meet with a nurse practitioner to discuss their risk factors and the risks and benefits of the screening. Low-dose screening CT is performed without contrast and imaging acquisition takes less than five minutes.
UPDATE May 2020: COVID-19 Precautions
To reduce potential exposures and wait times in the clinic, we are currently providing phone consultations with the NP prior to CT, rather than in-person visits. Your patient's CT can be performed immediately after the phone consult, or at a later time and date, at their convenience.
Is it safe to schedule my exam now?
The American College of Radiology (ACR) has determined that for most radiology care, your risk of exposure to COVID-19 is low. Learn more.
How does a patient prepare for the test?
There are no special instructions for your patients to follow prior or after the screening.
How much does it cost?
If your patient qualifies as high-risk for lung cancer (which will be verified on the day of your visit), private insurance and Medicare should cover their screening in full.
Is it safe?
Radiation exposure from a low-dose CT for lung screening is equivalent to or less than the amount of radiation that one is naturally exposed to every 6-12 months. The most common negative effect is a false positive test.
If the results are normal, a nurse practitioner or radiologist will call your patient to discuss the results. Their results will also be available on My Health at Vanderbilt, our secure online health tool, and we will send them a letter with the results.
If there is an abnormality, the radiologist will call the referring provider to discuss referral or follow-up recommendations.
Lung Nodule Clinic
Our Lung Nodule Clinic is available for all positive screening tests and offers the following services:
- Evaluation of lung nodules
- Evaluation of suspected lung cancer
- Minimally invasive lung cancer staging
- Evaluation of enlarged lymph nodes in chest (lymphadenopathy)
- Computer assisted navigational biopsy of lung nodules.
- Linear and radial endobronchial ultrasound
- Smoking cessation counseling and treatment
- Risk assessment and counseling for lung cancer screening
Understanding Medicaid, Medicare, and Private Insurance Coverage
LuCa National Network Training: free CME/CE course for primary care providers and other healthcare providers
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The American Association for Thoracic Surgery
John Carr, MD
Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Cardiovascular Medicine and Biomedical Informatics
Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Radiology & Radiological Sciences
Adam Guttentag, MD
Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
William Laxton, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiology and Radiological Sciences
Alexis Paulson, MSN, APRN, WHNP-BC, TTS
Radiology Nurse Practitioner, Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Clinical Coordinator, Vanderbilt Lung Screening Program
Otis Rickman, DO
Associate Professor of Medicine & Thoracic Surgery
Director of Bronchoscopy, Co-Director of Vanderbilt Lung Screening Program
Kim Sandler, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiology & Radiological Sciences
Co-Director of Vanderbilt Lung Screening Program
Brent Savoie, MD, JD
Vice Chair of Informatics, Department of Radiology
Section Chief, Cardiothoracic Imaging
Assistant Professor in Clinical Radiology & Radiological Sciences
Sarah D. Valenti, RN, MSN, ACNP-BC
Assistant in Radiology & Radiological Sciences
Charla Walston, MSN, AGACNP-BC
John Worrell, MD
Professor Emeritus of Radiology & Radiological Sciences
To view more of the Cure Connection interview, click here.
My Southern Health Magazine, Lung Screening edition, Winter 2019
Sandler, Landman Awarded Martineau Innovation Fund Grant
Routine lung cancer screenings now recommended for current and former smokers
Ten Years After Lung Cancer, A Survivor's Story
Experts answer common questions about lung cancer screening
The emotional side of being screened for lung cancer
Who should be screened for lung cancer?
Lung screening program continues to grow
Sandler Awarded VICC Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Initiative Grant
This 10-Second Quiz Can Tell You if You Should Get Screened for Lung Cancer
Smokers who undergo a CT scan of their lungs are more likely to quit, study finds
Catching the nation’s deadliest cancer; how lung screening can help
Vanderbilt Health Plus WellCast
VUMC Lung Cancer Screening Center earns recognition