Bipartisan CDS Bill Drops Ahead of SGR Patch

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On Wednesday, December 11, a bill mandating the use of clinical decision support (CDS) software by physicians receiving Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement was introduced in the House by Reps Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Erik Paulsen (R-Minn).

HR 3705, the Excellence in Diagnostic Imaging Utilization Act, would establish appropriateness requirements for advanced imaging and would require clinicians to utilize clinical decision support tools to help them adhere to those criteria. CDS would also be used to give the clinicians feedback on the appropriateness of exams ordered, and would be required to aggregate appropriateness data for future analysis.

With the aim of “protecting the doctor-patient relationship,” per a release issued by Rep. Paulsen’s office, the current legislation would require physicians to consult CDS, but would not force them to follow its recommendations.

Similar language regarding CDS was included in an October version of legislation to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, but, as RADPAC director Ted Burnes explains, “With the SGR legislation, there was no certainty the language would be included in the final version, and we had no way of knowing whether the SGR repeal would be voted on by the end of the year.”

Indeed, it appears that instead of passing a permanent SGR fix, a three-month patch for the SGR will be approved by the House at the end of the week and by the Senate next week.

“A standalone bill is another way to increase visibility regarding the CDS issue,” Burnes says. “It’s also a way to broaden general support on the Hill.”

A more long-term version of SGR legislation is with the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees for markup. “We want to see our CDS bill included in the Ways and Means version,” Burnes says. In further hopeful news for the imaging community, an amendment repealing the multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) is under consideration on the Senate side, he adds.