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Jane Cys

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s governor, signed a new radiation patient protection law in October 2010 that mandates strict procedures and reporting requirements for CT scanners and radiation-therapy procedures, as well as the reporting of radiation overdoses to the state’s Department of Public Health (DPH).

When Bill Lawrence became CEO of Central Michigan Community Hospital (CMCH) in Mt Pleasant, in 2008, he began examining options for improving the hospital’s radiology services. Declining volumes, long turnaround times, and lack of specialization were among the issues that had led to increasing dissatisfaction with the hospital’s radiology services.

The FDA’s review process for medical devices still needs clarification, and the link between user fees and performance needs strengthening, representatives of medical device manufacturers testified at a public hearing.

CMS plans to implement a two-year Medicare Imaging Demonstration Project [PDF] that will test whether decision-support systems can promote the appropriate ordering of imaging services using criteria established in current medical-specialty guidelines. The project will focus on MRI, CT, and nuclear-medicine diagnostic-imaging services. The 11

CMS released the 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) in July, proposing myriad changes that CMS notes would result in a 6% payment cut for radiology services. That reduction doesn’t include the impact of the 23% cut that will take place on December 1, when this year’s temporary 2.2% payment update expires—or the additional 6.1% cut

The familiar, contentious debate surrounding Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula came to a temporary close on June 24, when the House of Representatives, by passing HR 3962, finally agreed to a Senate plan to put off a 21.3% decrease in payment rates. The payment fix is only effective through November 30, however, ensuring yet another