The American College of Radiology is urging its members to contact their Senators and ask them to support S. 2347, the Diagnostic Imaging Services Access Protection Act of 2012.
S. 2347 is the companion bill to the House bill H.R. 3269, the Diagnostic Imaging Services Access Protection Act of 2011. Both bills seek to block the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from applying a multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) reduction on the professional component of imaging services until a study by physician experts on diagnostic imaging services can show through data analysis that there are indeed actual savings for providers in reading multiple studies done at one time.
The House bill has 266 cosponsors -- 61 percent of the 435 voting members of the House. The Senate bill has 18 cosponsor and therefore a lower level of support than the House bill. The ACR therefore wants to shore up support in the Senate and increase the odds that the bill’s text will be included in a larger legislative package, such legislation to fix the Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate formula, says the Joshua Cooper, director of government relations for the ACR.
The last ACR call to action on S. 2347 resulted in eight or nine new co-sponsors, and Cooper says he is hopeful that they may pick up an equal number of Senators once the Senate reconvenes after the November election.
Currently, the election is creating “uncertainty” and the majority of the Congressional offices the ACR are visiting are just not in a position to commit to any one issue -- even one as straightforward as that a study should be done before a cut is made, Cooper explained to ImagingBiz.
“The MPPR issue is positioned to go in a positive direction,” he said. However, he conceded that the challenges are great because many other groups will also be seeking inclusion of their legislative priorities in any end-of-year legislative package.
“There is pent up demand because the past few years [Congress] has kept the [SGR fix] clean,” Cooper said.
With many groups seeking to have their language included, it becomes ever more important to have as much support as possible in the form of cosponsors. Cooper said he was unaware of any other health bill that had as many cosponsors in the House as HR 3269, but they could use some “shoring up” of support in the Senate.
Much hinges on larger factors that have a trickle down effect on radiology’s issues, he said. One of those is the outcome of the election. A strong mandate from voters that energizes the legislators and encourages bipartisan work in the lame duck session after the election would favor inclusion of the MPPR bills’ provisions in one of the key pieces of legislation that must be passed before the end of the year.
On the other hand: “If they come back just hating each other and determined to do the bare minimum necessary before going home, they could decide to kick the can down the road and just pass a clean 3- or 6-month SGR fix,” Cooper said.
ACR members can learn more about the call to action here. Note, ACR membership is required.