Joseph Mantone, in his Jan. 22 feature story, repeatedly writes that Medicare reimbursement rules that went into effect on Jan. 1 would "level the playing field" or would make reimbursement for imaging services the same in a physician office as in a hospital setting.Nowhere in the article does he point out that the new rules require that reimbursement in the physician office setting be paid at the lesser of the hospital outpatient payment schedule or the physician fee schedule. What that means is that reimbursement for magnetic resonance imaging, CT scans, some ultrasound services and other sophisticated imaging procedures would be the same regardless of place of service, but reimbursement to physicians for routine X-ray, fluoroscopy and other less sophisticated services will continue to be substantially less than what is reimbursed under the hospital outpatient schedule. Thus, the playing field would be far from level. In fact, given the typical range and number of services provided in a hospital outpatient radiology department and full-service free-standing imaging center, the playing field is level now, albeit with different payment methodologies.
Brad ReidChief operating officer Radiology Regional Center Fort Myers, Fla.