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Obama and Radiology: Congressmen Send ACR Backed Letter to Obama: No More Arbitrary Imaging Cuts

On June 11, 2009 57 members of Congress sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him “to reject arbitrary cuts to imaging services or changes to the utilization rate assumption.”

The letter was circulated to members on Capitol Hill as a joint effort by the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), and the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC).

The letter highlights the value that medical imaging brings to the health care process by helping to save and extend lives and reduce costs by averting the need for more invasive and expensive surgical procedures. It also cites that the New England Journal of Medicine recognized medical imaging as one of the eleven “developments that changed the face of clinical medicine” during the last millennium.

The congressmen, via the letter, asked the administration to do away with one of the more contentious proposals currently being considered on Capitol Hill which would change the utilization rate that CMS uses to calculate relative value units that determine reimbursement rates. The current rate assumes that imaging facilities utilize their equipment 50 percent of the time. CMS is considering increasing the utilization rate to either 75 percent or 90 percent. Such a change in the formula could lead to a dramatic drop in Medicare reimbursement for the technical component of imaging.

More than 400 radiologists carried the letter to their members of congress when they met with their legislators during the recent AMCLC Capitol Hill Day.

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