IMV Market Report Shows U.S. CT Procedure Volume Dropping


January 21, 2014
January 21, 2014 — Computed Tomography (CT) procedure rates have declined by an average annual 5.5 percent in the United States over the past two years, diverging from a previous decade-long growth trend, according to a survey conducted by IMV Medical Information Division. 
“This apparent decline in CT procedures over the past couple years may in part be due to the reimbursement policies of Medicare and third-party insurers, who have tightened their reimbursements for key CT studies,” said Lorna Young, senior director of market research at IMV.
Pressures on CT departments that are impacting procedure rates include reduced reimbursements, necessary prior authorization for imaging studies, upholding department accreditations and national and regional policy reforms. IMV’s survey revealed about two-thirds of CT providers agree “the impact of federal healthcare reform is so uncertain that our facility has slowed the rate of all capital equipment spending until we know what the outcome is.” 
Reportedly, independent imaging centers with budgets to balance are more sensitive than hospitals to revenue-diminishing reductions in Medicare payments and third-party reimbursements. 
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CT Volumes

Did anyone take into account that in 2012 ABD and Pelvis CT's were merged into one exam not two as was previously practiced.  This severely effected our exam volumes but the number of actual patients for us at least apparently did not.  Abdomen and Pelvis CT's were the two exams we did the most of then that number was almost cut in half due to the three new CPT codes out in 2012 that merged them into one procedure.  We did experience a drop in the number of CT procedures of 4.8% dividng total CT procedure for 2011 by the difference in the 2012 numbers.  My 2013 numbers are improved over 2012 I project our CT procedure volumes in 2014 will equal or surpass 2011 if the recovery is consistent and maintained and no further groupings of CPT codes are thrust upon us.  Patient visits apparently went up sufficiently to cover the decrease in exams so that instead of our projected 30-35% volume drop due to combining these two procedures we only saw a 4.8% drop.

I would offer that the number of procedures dropped but not due entirely or in any large part to the factors as concluded here.  "Apparent decline" is the most approrpriate phrase offered.

Just saying . . . . .