March 22, 2010 - The American College of Radiology (ACR) announced today it strongly opposes the current medical imaging cuts contained in The Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872), which would immediately raise the imaging equipment utilization rate assumption from a 50 to a 75 percent rate.
The college said it opposes the cuts because they will shift imaging services from imaging centers to large hospitals, increase the cost to Medicare of appropriate imaging, produce longer wait times for patients, and cause potentially life threatening delays in diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
The utilization rate applies to all diagnostic imaging equipment priced over $1 million -- this includes MR and CT systems. The health care reform bill would raise the equipment utilization rate for all advanced diagnostic imaging services at 65 percent through 2012, 70 percent in 2013 and 75 percent in 2014 and beyond.
This would adversely affect reimbursement for diagnostic imaging centers, which according to a recent study by the Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA), rural providers use scanners only 48 percent of office hours and the national average is only 54 percent.
The ACR also stressed in its statement that "these cuts, on top of an average 23 percent reduction from the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, totaling $13.8 billion, will restrict and possibly end the ability of many nonhospital providers to offer imaging services, particularly in rural areas where equipment is needed, but utilized less frequently."
For more information: www.acr.org