Managing the FY modifier: CMS clarifies position on new DR policy

In its latest quarterly update, CMS answered a key question related to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which included language that incentivized imaging providers to upgrade computed radiography (CR) equipment to digital radiography (DR).

The question was fairly straightforward: Is the CMS-required FY modifier necessary if images are performed using CR and DR technology? The answer: no, it is not.

“Where the imaging service is comprised of multiple images that include both x-rays taken using computed radiography technology and images taken using digital radiography, CMS does not believe the payment reduction would apply to that service,” CMS wrote in the quarterly update. “Instead, the payment adjustment applies to an imaging service that is an x-ray taken using computed radiography technology where the x-ray taken using computed radiography technology is not combined with digital radiography in the same imaging service.”

Sheila M. Sferrella, MAS, chair of the AHRA Regulatory Affairs Committee, wrote about this issue in a recent post on the AHRA’s Link newsletter. CMS had said more information would be made available in the next quarterly update—and that’s exactly what happened.