Another organization has chimed in on Congress's proposal to fund expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the House version of the CHIP bill, known as the CHAMP Act (Children's Health and Medicare Protection), has found yet another opponent.

A recent letter to House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) by the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM; Reston, Virginia) warns that the provision of the CHAMP Act that would cut spending on imaging for Medicare patients would have "a harsh impact on underserved populations who have little or no insurance or cannot afford to pay out of pocket for imaging services," according to Peter Conti, chair of SNM's government relations committee.

Operators of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) recently voiced their opposition to cuts to SNF funding embodied in the CHAMP Act (Medical Device Daily, Aug. 3, 2007).

Gary Dillehay, who chairs SNM's coding and reimbursement committee, said that the CHAMP bill includes a notion about the current level of utilization of imaging equipment that is "based on flawed data," a position he said that both the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission have both acknowledged.

According to Dillehay, the flawed idea that imaging equipment is used 70% of available time rather than 50% is at the bottom of the problem and that cuts will expand the unit cost of imaging services. This utilization curve "is an integral component used in Medicare rate setting for imaging and will reduce payments" if imaging use is increased, Dillehay said.

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