News | Computed Tomography (CT) | November 10, 2015

CMS Not Delaying XR-29 Standard for CT Dose Reduction

CT operators will have to begin reporting scans on Medicare patients with non-complaint equipment starting Jan. 1, 2016

XR-29, CMS, Medicare, delay, low-dose CT, computed tomography

Image courtesy of Toshiba America Medical Systems

November 10, 2015 — This fall, imaging pundits discussed the possible delay of XR-29, a standard designed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to encourage computed tomography (CT) providers to upgrade their equipment to low-dose configurations. But it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that, effective Jan. 1, 2016, CT operators will have to report scans performed on Medicare patients with equipment that does not comply with the “Smart Dose” standard. Additionally, those out of compliance will take a 5 percent hit in Medicare technical payments throughout 2015; this penalty will increase to 15 percent in 2017 and later. According to CMS, testing for compliance with XR-29 will be done as part of the periodic accreditation of the CT scanners.

The decision will likely catch more than a few American sites flat-footed. In August, an Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA) survey found that 36 percent of respondents would not be compliant with the standard, if it took effect as scheduled. The result could be a surge of interest at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting in modern CTs, which are optimized for low-dose scanning.

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