Science Current Events | Science News |

Non-invasive diagnostic imaging costs to Medicare Part B down significantly since 2006

September 04, 2012

According to a study in the Sept. issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology, overall non-invasive diagnostic imaging (NDI) costs to Medicare Part B dropped 21 percent from 2006 to 2010. The study reveals that medical imaging is not a driver of escalating Medicare costs.

"This study confirms that medical imaging costs are down significantly in recent years and runs counter to misconceptions that imaging scans serve a primary role in rising medical costs. This study should provide lawmakers and regulators with more current information on which to base medical imaging policies and allow them to correctly focus on other areas of medicine that may be seeing cost increases," said David C. Levin, MD, lead author of the study.

Medicare Part B databases for 2000 to 2010 were used for the study. All NDI codes were selected. Medicare physician specialty codes were used to identify radiologists, cardiologists, all other non-radiologist physicians as a group, and independent diagnostic testing facilities. Part B NDI payment trends were tracked. Overall, Part B spending for NDI rose from $5.921 billion in 2000 to $11.910 billion in 2006, but declined to $9.457 billion in 2010. Similar trends occurred across the medical specialty settings and in independent diagnostic testing facilities.

"Medical imaging costs peaked in 2006, after doctors discovered that they could diagnose, treat or rule out serious conditions more safely and efficiently using scans rather than exploratory surgeries or admitting patients who did not need to be hospitalized. But in the subsequent years, reimbursement cuts have made a big dent in imaging costs. Also, utilization tightened as providers became more educated about when and which scans to order and radiation education efforts proliferated. This study shows that imaging has matured as it serves an increasingly vital role in modern health care," said Levin.

These findings are line with a recent Health Care Cost Institute report that imaging is the slowest growing of all physician services among privately insured individuals and that Medicare imaging use (overall) is down in recent years.

American College of Radiology

Related Medical Imaging Current Events and Medical Imaging News Articles

Queen's University professor to unveil self-levitating displays
An interactive swarm of flying 3D pixels (voxels) developed at Queen's University's Human Media Lab is set to revolutionize the way people interact with virtual reality. The system, called BitDrones, allows users to explore virtual 3D information by interacting with physical self-levitating building blocks.

MRI-based screening improves assignment of stroke patients to endovascular treatment
A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-- developed system for determining which patients with severe strokes are most likely to benefit from catheter-based systems for blood clot removal led to a greater percentage of screened patients receiving treatment and to outcomes similar to recent studies that found significant treatment benefits.

Targeted treatment produces rapid shrinkage of recurrent, BRAF-mutant brain tumor
A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has reported the first successful use of a targeted therapy drug to treat a patient with a debilitating, recurrent brain tumor.

MGH team broadens utility of more compact CRISPR-Cas9 by increasing its targeting range
A team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has shown that a method they developed to improve the usefulness and precision of the most common form of the gene-editing tools CRISPR-Cas9 RNA-guided nucleases can be applied to Cas9 enzymes from other bacterial sources.

Tumor RNA in platelets may diagnose and classify cancer, identify treatment strategies
Analysis of tumor RNA carried in platelets - blood components best known for their role in clotting - may prove to be more useful than other "liquid biopsy" technologies for diagnosing cancer and determining its primary location and potential therapeutic approaches.

Twitter offers valuable insights into the experience of MRI patients
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can be a stressful experience for many people, but clinicians have few ways to track the thoughts and feelings of their patients regarding this procedure.

Massive screen of drug combinations may find treatment for resistant, BRAF-mutant melanoma
A team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has discovered a new combination of drugs that may be effective against one of the deadliest cancers, malignant melanoma.

Study finds how Alzheimer's-associated protein tangles spread through the brain
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators have discovered a mechanism behind the spread of neurofibrillary tangles - one of the two hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease - through the brains of affected individuals.

Four microRNAs identified as playing key roles in cholesterol, lipid metabolism
Four tiny segments of RNA appear to play critical roles in controlling cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism. In their report receiving advance online publication in Nature Medicine, a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-based research team describes finding how these microRNAs could reduce the expression of proteins playing key roles in the generation of beneficial HDL cholesterol, the disposal of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol, control of triglyceride levels and other risk factors of cardiovascular disease.

Study finds medication errors, adverse drug events in 1 out of 2 surgeries studied
The first study to measure the incidence of medication errors and adverse drug events during the perioperative period - immediately before, during and right after a surgical procedure - has found that some sort of mistake or adverse event occurred in every second operation and in 5 percent of observed drug administrations.
More Medical Imaging Current Events and Medical Imaging News Articles

© 2015