Objectives: Lung cancer screening (LCS) with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) has been a reimbursable preventive service covered by Medicare since 2015. Geographic disparities in the access to LDCT providers may contribute to the low uptake of LCS. We evaluated LDCT service availability for older adults in the United States (US) based on Medicare claims data and explored its ecological correlation with smoking prevalence. Materials and Methods: We identified providers who provided at least 11 LDCT services in 2016 using the Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data: Physician and Other Supplier Public Use File. We constructed a 30-mile Euclidian distance buffer around each provider’s location to estimate individual LDCT coverage areas. We then mapped the county-level density of LDCT providers and the county-level prevalence of current daily cigarette smoking in a bivariate choropleth map. Results: Approximately 1/5 of census tracts had no LDCT providers within 30 miles and 46% of counties had no LDCT services. At the county level, the median LDCT density was 0.5 (interquartile range (IQR): 0–5.3) providers per 1000 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, and cigarette smoking prevalence was 17.5% (IQR: 15.2–19.8%). High LDCT service availability was most concentrated in the northeast US, revealing a misalignment with areas of high current smoking prevalence, which tended to be in the central and southern US. Conclusions: Our maps highlight areas in need for enhanced workforce and capacity building aimed at reducing disparities in the access and utilization of LDCT services among older adults in the US.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3383
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2 May 2020


  • Cancer screening
  • Cigarette smoke exposure
  • Health disparities
  • Low-dose computed tomography
  • Medicare


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