June 23, 2009 - A recent survey on imaging equipment usage showed that in rural areas of the U.S. 261 imaging systems in 46 centers (using current Medicare assumptions) operate only 48 percent of the time, compared to equipment in non-rural areas operates 56 percent of the time a center is open for business. The report, conducted by the Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA), demonstrates that imaging use is far less than President Obama's recommend 95 percent utilization rate.
This amount of time imaging equipment is in use in outpatient settings is below the usage rates President Obama and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommend Medicare utilize to calculate reimbursement for imaging. President Obama recently recommended CMS base its reimbursement formula on a 95 percent utilization rate for advanced imaging equipment, while MedPAC suggests a 90 percent utilization rate for equipment that costs more than $1 million.
The utilization rate of diagnostic imaging is a critical component of Medicare's calculation for reimbursements. Increasing the utilization rate above the actual use rates results in cuts imaging reimbursements, which significantly reduce access to diagnostic imaging to patients in rural regions of the country.
For more information: www.rbma.org