News | September 26, 2006

DRA Cuts Deep into Imaging, Patient Care

A new study by The Moran Company, a Washington-based healthcare research and consulting firm, reports that under the Deficit Reduction Act 2005 (DRA) medical imaging reimbursement rates would fall below the estimated costs of performing 90 percent of the medical imaging procedures in physician offices and independent imaging centers.
The report indicates that 145 imaging procedures within the aforementioned 90 percent include cardiac MRI; CT bone density, axial; acute venous thrombus image; tumor imaging 3-D; and ultrasound and pelvic exams.
Other findings in the report emphasized that “aggregate Medicare payment for imaging services in physician offices and imaging centers would fall 16-18 percent below aggregate payment for similar services provided in hospital outpatient departments,” and that “[m]uch of the overall reduction in spending brought about by DRA-'05 would be concentrated on a limited number of high-volume procedures used widely by Medicare patients.” These procedures include MRI exams to detect brain tumors, nuclear imaging studies for heart disease, ultrasound on leg arteries or bypass grafts and bone density studies for osteoporosis.
“You cannot cut MRI of the brain by 49 percent, ultrasound for prostate cancer by 72 percent or CT for abdominal aortic aneurysms by 52 percent without affecting patients” said Access to Medical Imaging Coalition Executive Director Tim Trysla.

Find copies of the report at the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition website: www.imagingaccess.org.

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