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  • 05.21.14

    AMIC Warns Against MedPAC’s Proposed Hospital Payment Cut for Diagnostic Imaging Services

    Washington, D.C. – The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC) today said that it opposes the severe hospital outpatient payment reductions for diagnostic imaging services outlined in Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s (MedPAC) testimony at today’s Energy & Commerce (E&C) Committee hearing. AMIC said MedPAC’s proposal to reduce Medicare’s hospital outpatient department payments for imaging and other ambulatory services down to the physician office payment level will threaten to restrict patient access to critical diagnostic imaging services in the hospital setting.

    “Imaging is central to hospitals’ ability to provide 24/7 access to timely and definitive diagnoses, and hospitals’ capacity to care for clinically complex patients in the outpatient setting.  We categorically reject MedPAC’s assertion that an ‘individual provider or sector’s higher costs is not an argument by itself for higher payments,” said Tim Trysla, executive director of AMIC.  “We agree with the American Hospital Association’s position: that we must question whether payment is truly adequate in the setting that is paid the lower amount. With the repeated payment cuts over the last eight years slashing physician office payments to inadequately low levels, and given the recent proven reduction in imaging utilization in the Medicare program, any further cuts will impair the value early detection brings to patient care.”

    Instead of further Medicare payment cuts, AMIC supports using Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC). Data have proven that physician-developed AUC and decision support tools empower clinicians to make treatment decisions that best suit individualized needs and circumstances without compromising access. In fact, the latest Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) patch legislation requires ordering physicians to consult AUC when prescribing advanced imaging procedures for Medicare patients as of January 1, 2017.

    “It is critical that we support physicians who work in these hospital settings with AUC and decision support tools to guide their diagnostic imaging treatment decisions rather than making discriminatory reimbursement cuts. Patients deserve access to care that is tailored to their unique needs,” Trysla said.

    AMIC has long stressed the importance of working with the physician community within the field of diagnostic imaging through the implementation of AUC and looks forward to working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other stakeholders to implement the new AUC policy.

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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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