Medicare payments for medical imaging are higher to nonradiologist physicians than to radiologists

Jan 04, 2011

Researchers have found that Medicare payments for non-invasive medical imaging, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans, are now higher to non-radiologists than to radiologists, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

"Radiologists have always been considered the physicians who "control" non-invasive (NDI) and are primarily responsible for its growth. Yet non-radiologists have become increasingly aggressive in their performance and interpretation of imaging," said David C. Levin, MD, lead author of the study.

Researchers looked at Part B files covering all fee-for-service physician payments for 1998 to 2008. They selected all codes for discretionary NDI. "We found that the growth in fee-for-service payments to non-radiologists for NDI was considerably more rapid than the growth for radiologists between 1998 and 2006," said Levin.

In 1998, overall Part B payments to radiologists for discretionary NDI were $2.563 billion, compared with $2.020 billion to non-radiologists. In 2008, non-radiologists received $4.807 billion for discretionary NDI, and radiologists received $4.648 billion.

"Our data reveal the somewhat surprising finding that non-radiologist physicians are now paid more for NDI by Medicare than radiologists. This has come about because of more rapid growth in fee-for-service payments to non-radiologists between 1998 and 2006, followed by steeper losses among radiologists after implementation of the DRA in 2007," he said.

"Because most imaging by non-radiologists is self-referred, whereas radiologists generally do not have the opportunity to self-refer, this should be of interest and concern to policy makers and payers," said Levin.

Explore further: Radiologist recommendations for chest CT have high clinical yield

More information: www.jacr.org

Provided by American College of Radiology

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Are poor workspace ergonomics causing radiologists pain?

May 03, 2010

A lack of attention to workspace ergonomics could be to blame for radiologists' musculoskeletal symptoms, including lower back pain, wrist pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and headaches, according to a study to be presented ...

Use of less invasive, imaging-guided biopsies on the rise

Jun 29, 2010

Advanced imaging technologies have helped shift biopsy techniques away from more invasive approaches toward imaging-guided percutaneous -- or through the skin -- techniques, according to a new study appearing online and in ...

Recommended for you

New approach to particle therapy dosimetry

Dec 19, 2014

Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in collaboration with EMRP partners, are working towards a universal approach to particle beam therapy dosimetry.

Supplement maker admits lying about ingredients

Dec 17, 2014

Federal prosecutors say the owner and president of a dietary supplement company has admitted his role in the sale of diluted and adulterated dietary ingredients and supplements sold by his company.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rgwalther
not rated yet Jan 04, 2011
Another bizarre result of 'helpful' bureaucratic, guidelines.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.