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  • 11.28.13

    AMIC Cautions Inclusion of Separate Cost Centers in Delayed HOPPS Rule

    Washington, D.C. – The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC) today said that it supports delay of the proposed cost center policy,  which was included in the calendar year (CY) 2014 hospital outpatient prospective payment system (HOPPS) by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  This delay is necessary to avoid inaccurate Medicare payments for computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) services, which would jeopardize the financial ability of hospitals and clinicians to continue to readily provide life-saving diagnostics to Medicare beneficiaries.

    “The changes to cost allocation and payment weight methodologies included in the proposed HOPPS rule would dramatically reduce Medicare’s hospital outpatient payments for many CT and MR services, technologies that have been proven to save lives and reduce costs,” said Tim Trysla, executive director of AMIC. “Despite the clear difference in diagnostic power and relative costs, the proposed cost center policy would establish nearly identical reimbursement rates for a CT scan and X-ray image of the same body part. This CT and MR cost center policy does not meet simple, transparent minimum standards that are aligned with the complexity of accurate data reporting for capital-intensive services. It is critical that CMS consider the interactions and cumulative impact of these payment policies on patient access to the right scan at the right time, in both the hospital and physician office settings”

    In September, the Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment (HOP Panel) expressed concern regarding the use of separate cost centers for CT & MR in the draft HOPPS rule. The HOP Panel publicly recommended that CMS delay implementation of CY2014 proposals until data and analyses can be further reviewed so that the interactions and cumulative impact of these policies are fully understood.

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    The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition represents physicians, medical providers, and patient organizations throughout the U.S. It also includes health technology firms that manufacture imaging equipment and supplies and that employ tens of thousands of workers. Thus, AMIC represents those who develop medical imaging technologies, those who apply it, and those who benefit from it.

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