News | September 17, 2009

Senate Bill Drops Utilization Rate to 65 Percent

September 17, 2009 - The Senate Finance Committee reduced the imaging utilization assumption rate from 90 percent to 65 percent, in essence cutting the originally proposed utilization increase by nearly two-thirds.

The Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) released his plan to address healthcare reform on September 16, 2009. The Committee had originally proposed raising the imaging utilization rate, used to help determine the technical component reimbursement for imaging services performed in an office setting, from 50 percent to 90 percent, which would have significantly cut reimbursement for the technical component.

The proposed bill also increased the technical component payment reduction for sequential imaging services on contiguous body parts during the same visit from 25 percent to 50 percent.

Also notable, the Finance Committee added an “Imaging Self-Referral Sunshine” provision that will require referring physicians who own imaging equipment to disclose to their patients the physician’s ownership interest, and provide the patient with a list of alternative facilities from which they can receive imaging services.

The Finance Committee is scheduled to begin formal consideration of the HR3200 America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 on Tuesday, September 22 when amendments to the Chairman’s “Mark” will be offered.

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