As we approach the March 1 sequestration cut deadline, concern is escalating over how the imminent $85 billion in budget slashes will actually affect various federal agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Because Medicare spending constitutes a large proportion of the nation’s hefty bill, it is a major target for reform. The debt ceiling crisis and its associated focus on cost-reduction comes on the heels of the fiscal cliff deal, which included $800 million in cuts to physician office Medicare payments for advanced medical imaging.
These recent financial crises have reinforced what the medical community has known for some time: health care costs, especially costly imaging exams, will be subject to increased scrutiny. Many health care providers are entering accountable care organization (ACO) environments, and the importance of cost-cutting across the continuum of care is doubly important.
How will federal budget cuts impact your imaging investment strategy?
Christopher Pericak and David Gaffin
On day three of American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), we’ve gotten some relief from the inclement weather and are excited to resume our coverage of the 2012 conference.
Our discussions today continued to unravel some of the major themes of the conference, while also providing the opportunity to take a closer look on the elephant-sized (or larger!) particle accelerator in the room: proton beam therapy.
We’ve heard much about the importance of cost reduction in radiation oncology in general, including plenty of facts and figures, putting this field at the forefront of cost growth within the health care industry. While the community certainly seems dedicated to reducing these costs, radiation oncology is still a capital intensive specialty that requires substantial investment to solve a range of complex problems.
ASTRO 2012: What does it take to reduce the cost of proton therapy?
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.
Maximizing your imaging equipment lifecycles