The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the CMS consider expanding payment safeguards aimed at controlling Medicares rapidly growing imaging reimbursement costs.
The recommendation is the result of a review that found Medicare spending on imaging services paid for under the physician fee schedule more than doubled, rising to roughly $14 billion, between 2000 and 2006. Use of and spending on advanced, more costly imaging services such as CT scans and MRIs increased faster than for more standard services such as ultrasound and X-ray, according to the review. The GAO report also linked those rising costs to a growth in the number of imaging procedures being performed inside physician offices, noting that in-office imaging services rose from 58% to 64% between 2000 and 2006.
The GAOs recommendations included requiring prior authorization for imaging procedures. -- by Shawn Rhea
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