News | July 26, 2007

CMS Reimbursement Changes for Freestanding Imaging Center Procedures May Jeopardize Patient Care

July 27, 2007 – Concerned about the unanticipated negative impact on Medicare beneficiaries and their quality of care as a result of reimbursement changes made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for procedures performed at freestanding imaging centers, MedSolutions has concluded that there are significant implications for beneficiaries if access to freestanding imaging centers is diminished because of CMS cuts to reimbursement as a result of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA).

In January 2007, CMS implemented DRA reimbursement rate cuts of approximately 20-25 percent to freestanding imaging centers. According to MedSolutions, these across-the-board cuts will not address growth in imaging services, and a more effective policy would be to enhance patient care by working closely with providers to ensure that Medicare patients receive the most appropriate test in the most appropriate setting.

“While saving $8 billion from the federal coffers sounds like a great idea for taxpayers, there is a much greater public policy consideration,” said Curt Thorne, president and CEO of MedSolutions. “Cuts of this magnitude will drive some freestanding imaging centers out of business, pushing more patients to the much more expensive outpatient hospitals for imaging procedures. This will drive up costs to the healthcare system, ultimately costing taxpayers much more than the $8 billion CMS projects to save.”

MedSolutions supports the use of radiology management tools in Medicare that employ clinical guidelines developed and endorsed by physicians to determine the right imaging test, promote patient safety, preserve patient access to care and improve quality, while minimizing inappropriate and wasteful use of medical services. The company is ready to work with Congress in developing policies that utilize radiology management tools in order to continue to bring high quality, life-saving imaging tests to Medicare beneficiaries.

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