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  • 10.23.12

    Access to Medical Imaging Coalition Commends Report on Potential Impact of Downward Medical Imaging Utilization Trends

    The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC) today touted a new policy brief from the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute that shows medical imaging utilization and spending has declined since 2006, while the average length of hospital stay in the United States has increased. In addition to these trends, the report calls for further research to measure the impact of imaging reductions on increased hospital admissions, which are among the largest and fastest growing drivers of health care costs.

    “AMIC applauds the work of the Neiman Institute in developing this important policy brief, which calls attention to the negative impact that further reimbursement cuts to medical imaging could have on clinical outcomes,” said Tim Trysla, executive director of AMIC. “Patient access to advanced imaging technologies saves lives and can reduce long-term costs for the healthcare system by spurring early detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease.   It is essential that policymakers refer to the latest data on utilization and spending trends when contemplating cuts that would threaten patient access to life-saving imaging services.”

    The report, which is the first policy brief produced by the Neiman Institute, suggests that the potential of an inverse relationship between the decline in medical imaging utilization and the increase in length of hospital stay should give policymakers pause in continuing to pursue additional cuts and restrictive policies until the downstream clinical and cost consequences are known.

    The data cited in the report echoes a recent analysis from the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) that found imaging utilization per Medicare beneficiary declined by 5.12 percent since 2009 and spending on imaging services for each Medicare beneficiary has dropped 16.7 percent since 2006.

    AMIC cautioned that the downward trends highlighted in the Neiman Institute policy brief are occurring at a time when research continues to underscore the tremendous value of imaging in improving outcomes and reducing costs.  Advanced medical imaging has been proven to reduce the number of invasive surgeries, unnecessary hospital admissions and length of hospital stays. In addition, medical imaging has been directly linked to greater life expectancy and declines in mortality rates.

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