ACR: Diagnostic Imaging Services Protection Act Helps Preserve Access to Care
The ACR released the following statement:
The American College of Radiology supports the Diagnostic Imaging Services Protection Act (H.R. 3269
), which would prohibit any multiple procedure payment reduction to the “professional component” of CT, MRI, and ultrasound exams received by the same patient, on the same day, in the same setting in 2012. A 50 percent cut was included in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule. Bipartisan H.R. 3269 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.). It was cosponsored by 31 House Members.
“This multiple procedure reduction and other imaging cuts are unnecessary and ill-advised. A published study
shows that any efficiencies in physician interpretation and diagnosis when the same patient is provided multiple services in the same day are variable and, at most, one-tenth of what policy makers contend,” said John A. Patti, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors. “Medicare funding for imaging has been cut seven times in six years, totaling more than $5 billion. Medicare spending on imaging is at 2004 levels and imaging growth is less than 2 percent annually. Further cuts would damage access to care for those who need it most.”
“Individuals that receive multiple imaging studies are often the sickest and most complex patients seen by physicians,” said Reps. Olson and McCollum. “They are typically affected by severe trauma, stroke, or widespread cancer. Imposition of this multiple procedure payment reduction would disproportionately affect the most vulnerable patient population. We strongly urge our congressional colleagues to support the Diagnostic Imaging Services Protection Act of 2011.”
Any imaging cuts, on top of those previous, would force many imaging providers to close and force imaging back into the large hospital setting, ACR stated. Medicare costs and patient co-pays are often higher for services provided in hospitals. Due to lack of access to imaging, more illnesses may not be caught until advanced stage -- raising treatment costs, affecting outcomes, and reversing gains against cancer and other illnesses. A 2009 study
for the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that increased use of medical imaging is directly tied to increased life expectancy for Americans. Those with less imaging access don’t live as long. A recent poll
of registered voters showed that 70 percent of Americans oppose further Medicare cuts to medical imaging.