News | July 09, 2008

Senate Passes Medicare Physician Payment, Imaging Criteria Bill

July 10, 2008 - The Senate overcame partisan gridlock on July 9, 2008, and passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (H.R. 6331) to repeal the 10.6 percent physician payment cut and to test the use of physician-developed Appropriateness Criteria.

The bill repeals the 10.6 percent physician payment cut called for by Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that went into effect July 1. The measure replaces the 10.6 percent cut as well as a 5 percent cut set for Jan. 1, 2009, with a 0.5 percent positive update for the rest of 2008 and a 1.1 percent update through 2009.

The legislation also calls for providers of advanced diagnostic imaging services (MR, CT, PET and nuclear medicine) to be accredited in order to receive payment for the technical component of those services, and establishes a two-year voluntary demonstration program to test the use of physician-developed Appropriateness Criteria.

The physician reimbursement cuts averted by this congressional action are required by the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula which dictates that once volume of services reaches a certain threshold, payment for each individual service is decreased to remain within a predetermined spending limit. Such reductions impose an arbitrary payment that does not factor in the cost to physicians of providing services.

"The ACR is gratified that Congress has acted to preserve access to care for our nation's seniors by averting this drastic reimbursement cut and at the same time increasing the quality of those services by enacting quality and safety standards for medical imaging providers," said James H. Thrall, M.D., FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors. "Accreditation, as called for in this legislation, assesses the overall quality of a practice, including personnel, equipment, quality assurance (QA) activities and ultimately the quality of patient care. The imaging provisions in this bill are a major step toward ensuring that beneficiaries receive consistent, quality care nationwide."

Thrall added, "The double-digit cuts that this bill averted may have forced many physicians to limit the number of Medicare patients that they see because reimbursement could have fallen below the cost of providing the exams. The reimbursement updates called for in this legislation will help maintain the ability of physicians to provide high-quality care in the communities in which they serve."

A total tally of 69-30 votes represents the necessary support to override a potential veto by President Bush. Several senators switched their stance from the last time the Senate voted on identical legislation July 26. Intense lobbying and grassroots by the physician community and other stakeholders over the July 4th Congressional recess led to the reversal of the impasse.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) stated that it would "like to thank all members who weighed in with their senators in recent weeks on this very important legislation."

For more information: www.acr.org

Related Content

CT Shows Enlarged Aortas in Former Pro Football Players

3-D rendering from a cardiac CT dataset demonstrating mild dilation of the ascending aorta. Image courtesy of Christopher Maroules, M.D.

News | Computed Tomography (CT)| January 12, 2018
Former National Football League (NFL) players are more likely to have enlarged aortas, a condition that may put them at...
Siemens Healthineers Strengthens CT Portfolio With Four New Systems at RSNA 2017

The Somatom Force with the new FAST 3D Camera

Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| December 14, 2017
December 14, 2017 — Siemens Healthineers introduced four new...
Toshiba Medical Introduces Aquilion Prime SP CT System at RSNA 2017
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| December 13, 2017
December 13, 2017 — Toshiba Medical, a Canon Group company, introduced its new Aquilion Prime SP...
Philips Debuts IQon Elite Spectral CT Scanner at RSNA 2017
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| December 11, 2017
At the 2017 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting, Philips unveiled the IQon Elite Spectral CT,...
Toshiba Highlights Ultra-High Resolution CT at RSNA 2017
News | Computed Tomography (CT)| December 06, 2017
Toshiba Medical, a Canon Group company, showcased the Aquilion Precision, what it calls the world’s first ultra-high...
Samsung Unveils Mobile CT OmniTom at RSNA 2017
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| November 26, 2017
Samsung Electronics debuted its OmniTom mobile 16-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner at the Radiological Society of...
Siemens Healthineers Announces First U.S. Installs of Somatom go.Up CT System
News | Computed Tomography (CT)| November 15, 2017
November 15, 2017 — Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI), one of the nation’s largest providers of diagnostic imaging
Medis Releases QAngio CT v3.1
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| October 09, 2017
Medis has released a new version of its QAngio CT (computed tomography), which can now be launched from the Medis Suite...
Hitachi Supria True64 CT Receives FDA Clearance
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| September 15, 2017
Hitachi Healthcare Americas Inc. announced it has attained U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance to...
Orange County, Calif. Hospital Adopts Siemens Somatom Force CT for Cardiac Imaging
News | Computed Tomography (CT)| September 12, 2017
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian recently became the first hospital in Orange County, Calif., to install the Siemens...
Overlay Init