Explaining that he aims to limit physicians financial incentives to order imaging services, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) plans to introduce a bill that would require referring physicians to discloseat the time of referraltheir ownership interest in an imaging service and to offer Medicare beneficiaries a list of alternative providers.
Grassley said the legislation, called the Medicare Imaging Disclosure Sunshine Act of 2008, is based on recommendations from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and he cited a Government Accountability Office report that Medicare Part B spending on imaging services more than doubled between 2000 and 2006 to about $14.1 billion.
In a news release, Grassley noted the geographic spending variations that show $62 being spent per Medicare beneficiary on in-office imaging in Vermont and $472 being spent in Florida. This raises additional concerns about overuse since research on geographic variations on healthcare spending shows that, generally, providing more services does not lead to improved healthcare outcomes, said Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, which is responsible for Medicare legislation. -- by Andis Robeznieks
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