Eric Bushlow, Imaging Performance Partnership
Policy makers have long argued that the cost of advanced medical imaging among Medicare beneficiaries has contributed significantly to overall health care cost growth. Recent research presented at RSNA 2012, however, suggests the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) dramatically impacted the growth of these services as compared to other health care costs.
The study highlights that before the DRA, advanced imaging was the fastest growing service category, ranking in the 86th growth rate percentile in 2001. However, by 2011 advanced imaging fell to the 2nd growth rate percentile—a testament to the effectiveness of this legislation and potentially demonstrating the impact of more recent appropriateness scrutiny.
These findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting a significant decline in imaging utilization over the past decade—a trend uncovered in the March 2012 MedPAC report.
Growth rate of advanced imaging slows dramatically since DRA
Matthew Morril, Technology Insights
While demographic trends are placing a larger burden on hospital resources, capital budgets continue to tighten in the wake of reform. Administrators may seek to control costs by extending the useful lives of clinical technology and equipment, which could save millions of dollars if done prudently and deliberately.
However, hospital administrators must be cautious to find the balance between conserving capital and meeting the clinical standard of care by offering key innovations. Ultimately, administrators must balance several factors—such as cost of maintenance, downtime, and tradeoffs in technological advances—when making decisions to extend the lifecycles of their imaging equipment.
In case you missed it: Maximizing your imaging equipment lifecycles
As the Partnership prepares for the 2011 National Meeting Series, we are uncovering insightful practices that we would like to share with you. Just recently researchers spoke with administrators at member health systems to ascertain the percentage of profit allocated for the next year's capital expenditures and wanted to share our findings. Each of the systems we spoke with explained that capital budgeting is done as a system and that they do not have direct control over the amount of capital allocated for new technology purchases. Administrators prefer this process over siloed control of capital budgets as the system focused method promotes collaboration and allowed for the hospital to better adhere to its strategic plans.
Capital Budgeting at the System Level