ACR warns Congress about imaging cuts

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Paul Ellenbogen, M.D., chair of the of the American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors, sent a letter last week to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, and House Energy and Commerce Committee, criticizing the use of diagnostic imaging cuts to defray costs of a delay in the Sustainable Growth Rate contained in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

"The decision to increase the technical component equipment utilization threshold for advanced imaging modalities from the current 75 percent to 90 percent is an arbitrary cut that is not based on any realistic analysis of how often this equipment is used in the office setting," Ellenbogen said. "All third-party studies of the use of this equipment have consistently put the utilization rate near the range of 50 to 65 percent, far from a 90 percent rate."

Ellenbogen added that through legislation and regulation, imaging reimbursement has been cut a dozen times since 2006, and that the cumulative impact of such cuts and "their impact on radiologists being able to provide sufficient, community-based patient care cannot be overlooked." Letter (.pdf)