News | September 28, 2008

MITA Responds to GAO Findings on Imaging Cuts, Utilization

September 26, 2008 - The Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA) disagrees with the GAO Report findings that payment cuts in advanced imaging services in 2007, due to the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), will only affect patient access to imaging on the national level.

In response to GAO warning that its measurement of current access to imaging is national and “may not be indicative of trends in smaller geographic areas,” MITA stated that it believes the GAO’s findings regarding access are flawed. “As the DRA cuts continue to be implemented in 2008 and beyond, we remain deeply concerned that seniors will increasingly experience problems in receiving the procedures and treatments they need and deserve,” said the alliance in a statement it issued today.

MITA is concerned about the impact these payment reductions – as much as $1.64 billion in 2007 alone – will have on patient access to noninvasive diagnostic and therapeutic treatments.

The GAO does find that the utilization of advanced imaging has flattened, pointing out that “[f]rom breast MRI used to detect cancer to CT heart scans, which are used to diagnose heart disease instead of invasive and costly catheterization, medical imaging will continue to provide new clinical benefits to patients. As innovative imaging technologies continue to demonstrate patient benefits and become increasingly vital to modern-day medicine, we believe the deep and arbitrary cuts to imaging services may have the unintended consequence of retarding diagnostic and therapeutic imaging innovation.”

MITA agrees with Congress’ decision to enact MIPPA by focusing on appropriateness and accreditation criteria. “It is these approaches, rather than payment cuts for imaging scans, that will ensure patients get the right scan at the right time and that healthcare decisions remain between physicians and patients. MITA and its members look forward to continuing to working with Congress and CMS to achieve proper utilization goals,” the group said.

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