News | September 10, 2006

Medicare Cuts effect Patients, Imaging Centers

According to healthcare industry officials, cutbacks in the Medicare program to freestanding imaging centers could have ill effects on Medicare patients, and possibly force some smaller imaging centers out of business. The American College of Radiology (ACR) estimates that freestanding imaging centers will lose money on 87 percent of all scans they perform on Medicare patients if the cuts remain.
These image reimbursement cuts were party of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, and Congress included the cuts to try and slow the amount of imaging scans, which has grown significantly in the last couple years.
Shawn Farley, a spokesperson for the ACR, agrees that the cuts will punish Medicare patients.
Farley stated that doctors who lose money by providing a certain imaging service will stop providing that service. This will result in fewer options for Medicare patients, and they will then have to travel longer distances and wait longer for the specific scans that they require.
Bills in Congress are pending for a two-year moratorium on the cuts, hopefully giving the Government Accountability Office time to study the impact on patient care. It the bills do not pass, the cuts are scheduled to go into effect in 2007.

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