by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | March 13, 2014
The Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI) results are in and radiology directors are still concerned about reimbursement levels.
MICI is a quarterly index conducted by The MarkeTech Group, a market research firm, and The Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA).
In the first quarter of 2014, the index surveyed 178 radiology directors and hospital managers across the U.S. Each participant was asked to rate their optimism about five topics on a scale from 0 to 200. The topics included monthly growth in diagnostic and interventional imaging, adequacy of reimbursement from Medicare, internal operating and staff costs remaining constant, access to capital for imaging equipment and IT needs and potential growth as a profit center.
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The results of the survey show that the respondents are even less optimistic this quarter about Medicare reimbursement than they were last quarter. The mean score is now 57, which is a new low for the survey.
The transition from the traditional fee-for-service model to a value-based model coupled with the fact that policy makers are working to decrease the payment differential between specialty and primary care, among other specialties, radiology is taking a hit.
"Radiology departments are consistently optimistic about future growth potential," Craig V. King, director of quantitative research at The MarkeTech Group, told DOTmed News. "However, there is ongoing concern about reimbursement and access to capital for equipment purchase."
Another area that respondents are less confident about is the growth in diagnostic and interventional imaging. It went down to a mean score of 92 and the overall index composite score fell to 91. However, hospitals with 300 or more beds are more confident about the growth potential than hospitals with fewer than 100 beds, said King.
But their confidence isn't completely gone. They are a little more optimistic that imaging facilities will have access to capital than last quarter with a mean score of 79. The mean score for whether sites will maintain or grow as profit centers is even higher at 113.
"We have been tracking these indices since 2011 and about 50 percent of the current members of MICI have been with us from the beginning," said King. "This gives us three full years of trending-we are starting on the fourth year now."