ACR praises Congress for including MPPR, USPSTF provisions in $1.1 trillion spending bill

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has issued a statement applauding Congress for passing the $1.1 trillion, 2,000-plus page Omnibus Spending Bill late last week.

The ACR’s support comes from the inclusion of two specific items in the bill: a Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR) rollback and a two-year moratorium on implementation of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendations on breast cancer screening.

“The ACR, its member physicians, patients and others have worked with Congress to improve and safeguard patient access to vital imaging care through the protections in this bill,” Bibb Allen, Jr., MD, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, said in a statement. “The access to care that these steps will allow can literally mean the difference between life and death for many Americans. We urge the President to sign the bill into law with all haste.”

The MPPR is a Medicare reimbursement reduction that impacts interpretation of advanced imaging scans performed on the same patient in the same session. Once the Omnibus Spending Bill is signed into law, the MPPR would decrease from 25 percent to 5 percent.

“This MPPR rollback eases the impact on access to needed imaging care for auto accident and stroke victims, those with widespread cancer, and others who often require interpretations by different doctors to recover,” said Geraldine McGinty, MD, chair of the ACR’s commission on economics. “Physicians and lawmakers worked together to ensure adequately-covered access to this lifesaving care. Patients and providers will benefit from this.”

The two-year moratorium on USPSTF draft recommendations is language previously found in the ACR-supported Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings Act (PALS Act). The USPSTF once again caused controversy when its draft recommendations for breast cancer screening gave annual mammograms for women ages 40-49 a “C” grade instead of the “B” grade or higher that guarantees coverage from private insurers under the Affordable Care Act.

“The protections in this legislation allow women ages 40-and-over who choose to get an annual screening mammogram to be covered, with no copay, for these lifesaving exams,” Debra Monticciolo, MD, chair of the ACR breast imaging commission, said in the statement. “The bill also allows time for breast cancer experts to properly vet the USPSTF recommendations and the process by which they were created as well as more recent literature on mammography screening. This will help ensure sensible screening policy that saves the most lives and minimizes any viable screening concerns.”

The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) also released a statement in favor of Congress including the PALS Act language in the spending bill.