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Medicare imaging costs skyrocket, draw scrutiny

February 7, 2008 Diagnostic Imaging. Medicare imaging costs skyrocket, draw scrutiny James Brice ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cardiac CT will propel self-referred utilization up as other nonradiology specialists see modest growth The explosive growth of Medicare outpatient imaging from 2000 to 2005 explains why federal regulators have singled out radiologists for restraints. Medicare payments for outpatient medical imaging jumped 93% during that period, from $6 billion to more than $11 billion. The increase reflected a shift in preference toward high-cost, high-tech modalities, especially CT and MR. Utilization among cardiologists became a major contributor to imaging-related inflation. The trend line for Medicare Part B imaging growth was flat through the latter half of the 1990s before beginning to move steadily upward, said Dr. Vijay Rao, radiology chair at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. By 2005, more than four outpatient imaging exams were performed for each Medicare beneficiary, up from three exams per beneficiary in 1996. On a procedural basis, overall utilization rate for noninvasive diagnostic imaging among the Medicare fee-for-service population increased 23% in the five-year period.

See full article and related articles at DiagnosticImaging.com
This article was republished with permission from CMPMedica, LLC

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