News | July 09, 2008

Senate Passes Medicare Physician Payment, Imaging Criteria Bill

July 10, 2008 - The Senate overcame partisan gridlock on July 9, 2008, and passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (H.R. 6331) to repeal the 10.6 percent physician payment cut and to test the use of physician-developed Appropriateness Criteria.

The bill repeals the 10.6 percent physician payment cut called for by Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that went into effect July 1. The measure replaces the 10.6 percent cut as well as a 5 percent cut set for Jan. 1, 2009, with a 0.5 percent positive update for the rest of 2008 and a 1.1 percent update through 2009.

The legislation also calls for providers of advanced diagnostic imaging services (MR, CT, PET and nuclear medicine) to be accredited in order to receive payment for the technical component of those services, and establishes a two-year voluntary demonstration program to test the use of physician-developed Appropriateness Criteria.

The physician reimbursement cuts averted by this congressional action are required by the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula which dictates that once volume of services reaches a certain threshold, payment for each individual service is decreased to remain within a predetermined spending limit. Such reductions impose an arbitrary payment that does not factor in the cost to physicians of providing services.

"The ACR is gratified that Congress has acted to preserve access to care for our nation's seniors by averting this drastic reimbursement cut and at the same time increasing the quality of those services by enacting quality and safety standards for medical imaging providers," said James H. Thrall, M.D., FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors. "Accreditation, as called for in this legislation, assesses the overall quality of a practice, including personnel, equipment, quality assurance (QA) activities and ultimately the quality of patient care. The imaging provisions in this bill are a major step toward ensuring that beneficiaries receive consistent, quality care nationwide."

Thrall added, "The double-digit cuts that this bill averted may have forced many physicians to limit the number of Medicare patients that they see because reimbursement could have fallen below the cost of providing the exams. The reimbursement updates called for in this legislation will help maintain the ability of physicians to provide high-quality care in the communities in which they serve."

A total tally of 69-30 votes represents the necessary support to override a potential veto by President Bush. Several senators switched their stance from the last time the Senate voted on identical legislation July 26. Intense lobbying and grassroots by the physician community and other stakeholders over the July 4th Congressional recess led to the reversal of the impasse.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) stated that it would "like to thank all members who weighed in with their senators in recent weeks on this very important legislation."

For more information: www.acr.org

Related Content

Hospital for Special Surgery Invests in Sectra Orthopedic 3-D Planning Software
News | Orthopedic Imaging | January 18, 2018
January 18, 2018 – International medical imaging IT and cybersecurity company Sectra announces that Hospital for Spec
Philips Introduces Technology Maximizer Program for Imaging Equipment Upgrades
Technology | Imaging | January 17, 2018
January 17, 2018 — Philips recently announced the launch of Technology Maximizer, a cross-modality program designed t
Fat Distribution in Women and Men Provides Clues to Heart Attack Risk
News | Women's Health | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – It’s not the amount of fat in your body but where it is stored that may increase your risk for hea
Minimally Invasive Treatment Provides Relief from Back Pain

Lumbar spine MRI showing disc herniation and nerve root at baseline and one month after treatment

News | Interventional Radiology | January 11, 2018
The majority of patients were pain free after receiving a new image-guided pulsed radiofrequency treatment for low back...
Emergency Radiologists See Inner Toll of Opioid Use Disorders

Rates of Imaging Positivity for IV-SUDs Complications. Image courtesy of Efren J. Flores, M.D.

News | Clinical Study | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – Emergency radiologists are seeing a high prevalence of patients with complications related to opio
CT Shows Enlarged Aortas in Former Pro Football Players

3-D rendering from a cardiac CT dataset demonstrating mild dilation of the ascending aorta.

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | January 11, 2018
Former National Football League (NFL) players are more likely to have enlarged aortas, a condition that may put them at...

Size comparison between 3-D printed prosthesis implant and a penny.

News | 3-D Printing | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — Researchers using...
BlueCross BlueShield Companies in Eight States Issue Positive Medical Policies for HeartFlow FFRct Analysis
News | CT Angiography (CTA) | December 28, 2017
HeartFlow Inc. announced that Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC), which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in five...
Artificial intelligence was the number one topic in radiology in 2017.

Artificial intelligence was the number one topic of interest in radiology in 2017, based on the most popular articles and videos on ITN in 2017.

Feature | Imaging | December 28, 2017
The Imaging Technology News (ITN) website had another record year with more than 1.25 million page views in 2017.
Median Technologies Collaborating With Chinese Hospital for Lung Cancer Screening Programs. Dave Fornell
News | Lung Cancer | December 22, 2017
Median Technologies recently announced a research collaboration agreement with Xingtai People's Hospital, Xingtai City...
Overlay Init