When MedPAC submitted its June 2011 Report to Congress, it made four recommendations to CMS to curb continued growth in imaging spending by cutting reimbursement in some situations, and subjecting high utilizing ordering physicians to preauthorization. Last month, ranking bipartisan members of the Congressional Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health voiced their opposition to every one of MedPAC's recommendations, and now a further 61 bipartisan members of Congress have come out in opposition to one recommendation in particular.
The recommendation in question suggests that CMS should institute a multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) for the "professional component" of successive diagnostic imaging services that are administered to the same patient, on the same day, in the same setting. A similar payment reduction has already been implemented for the technical component of such imaging exams.
More Congressmen Oppose MedPAC on Imaging Reimbursement Cuts
The Meaningful Use Workgroup of the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has recommended that Stage 2 of the U.S. government's "meaningful use" program for healthcare IT stimulus funding should be delayed by 12 months
The one-year delay was proposed Wednesday in a draft document prepared by the ONC Health IT Policy Committee. Under the terms of the proposal, Stage 1 attestation would continue through 2013, Stage 2 would start in 2014 and Stage 3 would start in 2015. However, this revised schedule for Stage 2 implementation would only affect health care providers who plan to attest to achieving Stage 1 meaningful use requirements this year.
Workgroup Recommends Delay of Stage 2 Meaningful Use Implementation
A recent survey has found that over 53 percent of emergency room physicians order more diagnostic tests than necessary out of fear of being sued. Unsurprisingly, over 44 percent of those surveyed also indicated that the threat of litigation was the number one challenge to cutting emergency room costs.
The survey, carried out by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) earlier this year, was mailed to 20,000 emergency physicians across the country, and filled out by almost 1,800. It is clear from the results that sweeping majorities of ER physicians believe that there is not only room to cut costs in the emergency department, but that it might even improve the quality of patient care. In a statement accompanying the release of the survey, Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of ACEP, described the difficult position ER physicians often face when ordering exams, and the potential negative effects for patients, saying "We do a lot of these tests to cover ourselves that then give people an awful lot of radiation...we have to err on the side of the test, which could be harmful in the long term."
Survey Finds Liability Fears Driving Emergency Room Costs