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ACR backs new radiology bill

by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | March 01, 2013
Congresswoman Betty McCollum
Once again the American College of Radiology is holding out hope that the Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR) to Medicare reimbursement for diagnostic imaging can be thwarted with new legislation.

The Diagnostic Imaging Services Access Protection Act (H.R. 846), recently introduced by Reps. Pete Olson (R-TX), Peter Roskam (R-IL), John Barrow (D-GA), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and 38 House cosponsors, would correct a 25 percent reduction to Medicare reimbursement for the interpretation of advanced diagnostic imaging scans performed on the same patient, in the same session, on the same day.

"We thank this bipartisan group of representatives, particularly Reps. Olson, Roskam, Barrow and McCollum, for stepping up to address this arbitrary action that Medicare never should have taken," said Dr. Paul Ellenbogen, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, in an official statement.

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In 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services instituted the MPPR, a 25 percent cut to the professional component paid to radiologists for the time it took them to interpret the second advanced imaging scan after the first scan given to the same patient during the same session. The final physician fee schedule for 2013, which was released in mid-2012, expands the MPPR to apply to every doctor in the same practice.

Put another way, the rule is extended across group practices. For example, if one radiologist reads a CT scan from a patient and his or her partner in the same practice reads an MRI scan from the same patient on a different body part later in the day, the second reading is discounted 25 percent.

ACR and other industry stakeholders were disappointed when prior legislation, H.R. 3269/S. 2347 (the Diagnostic Imaging Services Access Protection Act), which would have also avoided the 25 percent reduction, never made it into the last minute fiscal cliff negotiations on Jan. 1, 2013.

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