ACR supports bill to repeal controversial payment reduction

 - Congress, House, Senate

The ACR has come out in support of H.R. 2043, the Diagnostic Imaging Services Access Protection Act, which aims to repeal imaging cuts the ACR feels are “unnecessary and may do more harm than good.”

The cuts in question come from the 25% Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR) that applies to reimbursements to Medicare for the interpretation of advanced diagnostic imaging scans performed on the same day, during the same session, to the same patient. This specific reduction was created in 2012 by CMS in response to text in the ACA that said the HHS should identify “misvalued codes.” It also represents the first application of the MPPR to physician payment.

Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, said the 25% MPPR largely impacts patients who need all the care they can get.

“This Medicare cut affects care for the most sick or injured patients—including auto accident victims and those stroke or widespread cancer—who often require interpretations by different doctors to recover,” Allen said in the ACR press release. “[CMS] should not be slashing funding for care for the most vulnerable of Medicare patients.”

Allen also thanked representatives Pete Olson (R-Tx), Peter Roskam (R-Il) and Betty McCollum (D-Mn), who introduced the bipartisan bill to the House, for “trying to fix a problem that CMS never should have created.”

Cindy Moran, ACR EVP of government relations, told RadiologyBusiness.com that if the Diagnostic Imaging Services Access Protection Act passed and the MPPR in question was repealed, imaging specialists would have more freedom to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

“Radiologists would be able to have more flexibility in determining how best to attribute resources towards better patient care,” she said in an e-mail. “This is especially important since this cut primarily affects care for the most sick or injured of Medicare patients.”

The ACR statement points to two separate studies conducted by the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute that show that imaging use and costs are down since 2007. The statement also says HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell “continues to ignore” a mandate to release data supporting the cut.

“ACR believes CMS has had ample time to disclose the data and should do so now,” Moran said.