Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008

May 6, 2009 · Written by MDPhysics.com · mdphysicsblog@gmail.com

Did you know that by 2012 the providers of “Advanced Diagnostic Imaging” services must obtain accreditation from an organization designated by the Department of Health in order to get reimbursement for their services? This is a provision in the bill passed by Congress in July 2008. The term “Advanced Diagnostic Imaging” includes Nuclear Medicine, Computer Tomography, PET, and Diagnostic Magnetic Resonance Imaging Services. Section 135 of this bill describes these provisions:

SEC. 135. IMAGING PROVISIONS.

(a) Accreditation Requirement-

(1) ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENT- Section 1834 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m) is amended by inserting after subsection (d) the following new subsection:

(e) Accreditation Requirement for Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Services-

(1) IN GENERAL-

(A) IN GENERAL- Beginning with January 1, 2012, with respect to the technical component of advanced diagnostic imaging services for which payment is made under the fee schedule established under section 1848(b) and that are furnished by a supplier, payment may only be made if such supplier is accredited by an accreditation organization designated by the Secretary under paragraph (2)(B)(i).

(B) ADVANCED DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING SERVICES DEFINED- In this subsection, the term ‘advanced diagnostic imaging services’ includes–

(i) diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and nuclear medicine (including positron emission tomography); and…

The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) in an article in their Autumn 2008 newsletter wrote that they were very pleased by the passage of this bill. They stated: “This powerful legislation includes a provision requiring the accreditation of imaging facilities as well as the elimination of a scheduled 10.6% payment cut for physicians.” 

In another paragraph they wrote: “The passage of this bill marks a turning point in recognizing the importance of quality standards and accreditation for medical imaging on a nationwide basis. The portion of the legislation requiring accreditation stipulates that the accreditation programs must evaluate that physicians and staff maintain the proper level of training and education; that laboratories use imaging equipment which adheres to strict standards of performance and operates under proper safety guidelines; and that all laboratories establish and maintain a quality assurance program, thereby upholding the standards of quality care for patients, particularly senior citizens.” Here is a link to the IAC website: www.intersocietal.org.
 
The passage of this bill is also a good news for the Medical Physics community, especially for those of us who are Diagnostic Imaging physicists. The question, however, is whether there will be enough qualified diagnostic medical physicists in 2012 to provide this service on a national basis? So if you are a medical physics student and have yet to choose your area of speciality, this seems to be an opportune time to be a diagnostic imaging physicist.

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