We've Got Email
by Robert Garment
, Executive Editor | June 14, 2006
Many DOTmed Users commented about the story we ran on the Deficit Reduction Act and the attempt to roll-back cuts in imaging procedure reimbursements. Here, un-editied, are four of these emails...
To DOTmed News:
I have heard some references to this act. If I knew what was contained in the act, this article would not be news. As I do not know, This article is no more than a grip regarding an undefined reference.
It would be helpful if you would give use the specific wording in the Act or provide a link to the parts of the bill that you are referencing.
Eric Wilson, MD
In response to Dr. Wilson's email we have re-printed below, from the Congressional Budget Office, their actual estimate of the cost cuts for imaging procedures that the DRA will impose.
Payment For Imaging Services:
Section 5102 would reduce spending on imaging services (such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging) by $2.8 billion over the 2007-2010 period and by $8.1 billion over the 2007-2015 period, CBO estimates. Those savings would be realized, in part, by capping the "technical" component of payments (as distinguished from the "professional" -- or interpretation--component) for imaging services that are performed in a doctor's office. Those payment rates would be capped at the rates paid to hospital outpatient departments.
In addition, the act would exempt from Medicare's budget-neutrality rules scheduled reductions in payments for certain imaging services that are performed on contiguous body parts. Exempting these reductions (which were put in place through administrative action) from the budget neutrality rules would allow savings resulting from the new payment rates to decrease overall spending rather than being used to increase payment rates for other services.
I am part of an industry that is small and not understood by many parties including CMS, Congress and the primary industry we serve, nursing homes.
In '04 and '05 CMS gave us, through the Physicians Medicare Fee Schedule, a 1.5% increase in each of those two years. 0% in 2006! During this same three year period one our expense items alone, gasoline went from $1.50/ gal to over $3.00 gal. This is a 100% increase. This doesn't take into account all our other market driven cost increases like double digit Health Insurance increases for the last four years, Tech salary increases exceed general increases
because of the shortage of tech.
I could go on but the picture is crystal clear. Because we are include in the PMFS we will suffer the reduction in radiology as hospitals and Radiology groups. Because the vast majority of our industry revenue comes from portable x-rays, we will take a big hit to a small industry where many companies are making slim or no profit. The vast majority of the companies cannot go into "new" items because of regs. and costs.