A study published in an April 2010 issue of JAMA found that the cost of high-tech imaging scans for cancer patients is rising faster than the total cost of treatment for those patients. The study, which was conducted by Duke University School of Medicine researchers, used claims data from a sample of Medicare beneficiaries from 1999-2008. The average cost of imaging within two years of the cancer diagnosis increased between 5.1% and 10.3% per year during the study period; overall Medicare cancer expenditures grew between 1.8% and 4.6% per year.
Imaging Costs for Cancer Patients Rising Faster than Total Cost of Cancer Care
We posted a few weeks ago on the fact that many imaging departments are reporting volumes below expectations in early 2010. I received an email from one member who recently reached out to a number of institutions to inquire about trends in mammography volumes. The specific question posed was whether organizations have seen a change in mammography volumes since the USPSTF issued their controversial recommendations advising against routine mammograms for women ages 40-49 in November 2009.
As reported in Imagingbiz.com, BlueCross BlueShield of Delaware (BCBSD) pre-authorization recently caught the attention of local and national law makers. While BCBSD is certainly not alone in requiring pre-authorization, they seemed to have come under fire because of physician claims that medically necessary cardiac stress tests were denied. The Delaware Insurance Commissioner responded by holding a meeting with legislators to discuss the pre-approval process by BCBSD's RBM, MedSolutions. Media coverage even caught the attention of Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chair of the Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee who sent a letter to BCBSD CEO and requested greater transparency into the process.
BCBS of Delaware Under Fire for Pre-Authorization Requirement