News | December 20, 2013

Excellence in Diagnostic Imaging Utilization Act Would Increase Quality and Preserve Healthcare Resources

The American College of Radiology (ACR) strongly supports the Excellence in Diagnostic Imaging Utilization Act of 2013 (H.R. 3705), which would require ordering physicians to  consult physician-developed appropriateness criteria when ordering advanced diagnostic imaging studies for Medicare patients. This ACR backed bipartisan bill is separate from, and in addition to, a similar appropriateness criteria policy included in the SGR Repeal and Medicare Beneficiary Access Act of 2013, currently under debate in the House and Senate. Congress will likely consider these bills in early 2014.

H.R. 3705, recently introduced by Reps. Erik Paulsen (R- MN) and Jim Matheson (D-UT), would require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to specify appropriateness criteria from among those developed/endorsed by national professional medical specialty societies such as the ACR. Evidence-based ACR Appropriateness Criteria have been in existence for 20 years and are created and updated by multi-specialty panels of physicians. This allows them to serve as a national standard.

“The College applauds Reps. Paulsen and Matheson for reaching across the aisle to promote this policy, which helps ensure that Americans get the care that they need, preserves resources, and does so without interfering in the doctor patient relationship” said Paul H. Ellenbogen, M.D., FACR.   

H.R. 3705 would not give the secretary authority to create such guidelines, but would direct the secretary to identify mechanisms, such as clinical decision support (CDS) tools, by which ordering professionals could consult these criteria. CDS systems in Minnesota, and at Massachusetts General Hospital, based on these physician-created criteria, have been shown to reduce duplicate and/or unnecessary scanning and their associated costs. 

The policy advocated in H.R. 3705 is in step with the ACR’s Imaging 3.0 initiative that increases quality of imaging care and preserves health care resources.

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