Bill aims to reduce Medicare spending by preventing self-referrals for certain services, including imaging

New legislation has been introduced to Congress that would update Medicare policies by preventing self-referrals related to advanced imaging services, radiation therapy, anatomic pathology and physical therapy. HR 2143, the Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act (PIMA), was introduced by Reps. Jackie Speier (D-California) and Dina Titus (D-Nevada) on April 9.

“Now is the time to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of Medicare,” Speier said in a prepared statement. “This bill will help get that job done by saving tax dollars and helping vulnerable seniors who depend on Medicare for their quality of life.”

The Alliance for Integrity in Medicare (AIM), a group comprised of several medical societies, has shown its support of the legislation. The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), a member of AIM, issued a statement applauding the bill’s introduction. According to ASTRO, the bill would “accelerate health care payment reform, reduce Medicare costs and better protect patients.”

“Inappropriate self-referral undermines ASTRO-supported efforts to move Medicare toward quality- and value-based reimbursement,” ASTRO Chair Paul Harari, MD, said in the statement. “Alternative payment models, for example, will not be successful if incentives remain for overutilization of medical services. We applaud Rep. Speier and Rep. Titus for their leadership in introducing legislation that closes the self-referral loophole, drives needed payment reforms and reduces waste—all while protecting patients.”