The American College of Radiology (ACR), a Reston, VA.-based advocacy group for the imaging industry, has come out in support of the temporary Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) "doc fix" bill, which passed the Senate yesterday.
The group also came out in favor of the ICD-10 delay, which was a controversial provision of the bill. After passing the Senate yesterday and last week, passing the House, it moves onto to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law immediately.
In a press statement, the ACR said it applauded the Senate for passing the bill and for both Houses of Congress for “warding off massive provider payment cuts” as part of the SGR formula.
ACR appears to be one of the first medical groups that have supported the legislation publicly. Many, including the American Medical Association (AMA), have come out strongly against its passing, despite the fact that AMA and others have advocated against ICD-10.
In its statement, ACR mostly applauded the various imaging provisions of the bill. That included a requirement ordering providers to consult physician-developed appropriateness criteria when prescribing advanced imaging procedures for Medicare patients. It would have the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) identify ways that professionals can consult these criteria, such as use of clinical decision support (CDS) systems. This, in effect, would reduce unnecessary scanning and associated costs, says ACR representatives.
“Providers will have the latest medical evidence at their fingertips before a scan is ordered — ensuring that patients get the right exam for their condition and avoid unnecessary care. This will reduce unnecessary costs and help pave the way for a more responsive and efficient health care system,” Paul H. Ellenbogen, M.D., chair of the American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors, said in a statement.
It also supported the provision that would force the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to produce data to justify a 25 percent multiple procedure payment reduction on certain imaging procedures provided to the same patient, on the same day, in the same session.
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