March 16, 2009 – Today the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC), a coalition of physician, patient and imaging manufacturer groups, will hold a media conference to unveil a new analysis on Medicare claims data from 1998 – 2007 for advanced imaging services (CT, MR and Nuclear Medicine (including PET). The analysis shows that Medicare spending on advanced imaging was reduced by 19.2 percent from 2006 to 2007 and volume of service grew by only 1.9 percent. This is less than the overall rate of physician-payment growth.
Radiologists from the American College of Radiology will speak to how physician-developed tools – rather than pre-authorization – ensure the right scan at the right time is ordered. Cardiologists from the Cardiology Advocacy Alliance will speak to the impact of the changing payment-policy landscape. The release of this Medicare claims data analysis comes the day before a U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee hearing on the MedPAC annual report to Congress on Medicare payment policy.
AMIC says physician-developed appropriateness guidelines, accreditation requirements, and marketplace realities have had a dramatic affect on slowing utilization. The coalition says that the appropriateness pilot and mandatory accreditation requirement contained in last year’s Medicare law will continue efforts to make sure Medicare beneficiaries are getting high quality imaging tests at the right time.
Additionally, AMIC says, “The Moran Company data convinces the coalition that MedPAC’s survey of imaging utilization is flawed and should not be considered valid to support their recommendation.” MedPAC only surveyed two imaging modalities in six urban areas. Changing the utilization rate assumption (the amount of time imaging equipment is used during a 50 hour week) from 50 to 90 percent, as MedPAC recommends, is not an accurate picture of real-world imaging equipment use and will impact access. The members of AMIC stand ready to work with CMS on finding data to base an accurate change in the practice expense equipment utilization formula.
Bibb Allen, M.D., chairman of the American College of Radiology Commission on Economics
Tim Trysla, executive director of the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition
Herb Ladley, M.D., Fellow of the American College of Cardiology; president of Cardiovascular Associates
Don Moran, The Moran Company
1 p.m. EDT / Monday, March 16
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