News | April 19, 2010

SNM Stresses Long-Term Solution for Medicare Cuts

April 19, 2010 - President Barak Obama signed a bill granting temporary relief through June 1, 2010, from looming cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates, however, Michael Graham, Ph.D., M.D., president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM), stresses a need for a long-term solution.

“This is good news, and we are encouraged that the President has signed a bill to delay reimbursement cuts to medical imaging,” said Dr. Graham. “This extension may have bought us a little more time, but we are still in great need of a long-term solution that does not block access to medical services for Medicare patients.”

Graham added that the danger to the medical community is “very real” and advises that a long-term fix is needed to solve this persistent threat. “We urge Congress to take action now to stop this waiting game and ensure access to the tests patients need.”

“Medical imaging has come under greater threat than any other medical service,” said Robert W. Atcher, Ph.D., M.B.A., chair of SNM’s Government Relations Committee. “Nuclear medicine has seen greater cuts than other imaging modalities and is poised on the brink of disaster. It is a disservice to our profession and the patients we serve not to reimburse these tests at adequate levels.”

This recent short-term fix delays cuts to medical imaging through June 1, by which time Congress will have to take further action to ensure access for patients. After the temporary fix expires, physicians will once again face severe cuts in the level of reimbursement they receive for caring for Medicare patients. In the past, Congress has failed to approve a permanent fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), instead passing a series of one-year patches to prevent proposed cuts. After the temporary fix expires, physicians will once again face severe cuts in the level of reimbursement they receive for caring for Medicare patients.

For more information: www.snm.org

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