A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

A letter signed last week by some 30 medical societies, technology associations, healthcare providers and patient advocates has asked congressional leaders to reconsider the cuts made in medical imaging services for Medicare beneficiaries in the Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005.

Among other points, the letter said Section 5102 of the act, "would significantly cut Medicare reimbursement for the provision of diagnostic and interventional imaging services."

It added: "These life-saving diagnostic services are performed by a wide array of physician specialties in their offices and in freestanding imaging centers. This provision singles out imaging services to absorb over one-third of all the Medicare payment reductions in the DRA."

In the letter, sent to House and Senate leaders, the group said: "We are particularly concerned that these cuts were included without any public deliberation by either body of the Congress. There has been no analysis of the potential impact of this change in payment policy, and we fear that these cuts will have numerous unintended consequences, including potentially diminishing access to imaging services outside the hospital setting."

It added: "We ask that you work with us and the committees of jurisdiction on this issue to fix this new provision in the law prior to its implementation in January 2007."

The letter was sent by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (Rosslyn, Virginia), with other signatory groups representing more than 75,000 physicians, in addition to organizations that employ tens of thousands of individuals. Copies were sent to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and the majority and minority leaders in both the House and Senate, with copies to key committees.

The signers of the letter included the Academy of Radiology Research, Academy of Molecular Imaging, American College of Radiation Oncology, American Coll-ege of Radiology, American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, Society for Vascular Surgery, Society of Interventional Radiology and Society of Nuclear Medicine.

Among the other groups was the Advanced Medical Technology Association.

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