At Cross Purposes

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As health care costs rise and imaging leads the way, payors clearly have targeted radiology as an opportunity to slow growth. Beset by reimbursement cuts, other specialties see imaging as a way to add ancillary income and the Stark in-office imaging carve-out as the door to that opportunity. Organized radiology is lobbying Washington to emphasize the relationship between self-referral and overutilization of in-office imaging. The American Medical Association opposes any measure to limit in-office imaging. In its report to Congress last March, MedPAC proposed instituting quality measures for all facilities and practitioners. Meanwhile, Congress has steered clear of the inter-specialty strife.
"For them to say they're going to reduce reimbursement for contiguous body imaging without first giving any value to what the true expenses of the procedures are is very unusual. It's out of character for CMS to do this." Christie James, Radiology Billing Manager Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
For an update on the highly charged legislative atmosphere, see the article Imaging in the Crosshairs. Click here to read the MedPAC March 2005 report to Congress