Vizient highlights radiology cost savings and PAMA extension in ‘Diagnostic Imaging Tech Watch'

Oct. 23, 2020

Vizient, Inc. released a new report that reveals cost savings opportunities for healthcare organization radiology departments and details the educational and testing period extension for the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA). 

In addition, the report, Diagnostic Imaging Tech Watch, provides steps to ensure satisfaction for medical imaging patients in the post-COVID-19 world. 

Vizient Diagnostic Imaging Tech Watch provides insights and information about new and innovative technologies that support the delivery of high-quality care. The latest issue highlights imaging trends, regulations that affect imaging practices and equipment, and features pricing projections for both products and pharmaceuticals applicable to imaging. 

Featured articles include: 

“The price is right: radiology costing and consumerism:” For six years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has required contracted providers to report costing for MRI and CT scan as separate cost centers in order to calculate the cost-to-charge ratios, which it uses to determine the claims payment amount related to these services. A large portion of reporting providers severely underestimate the cost of CT and MRI exams by averaging their overhead cost across facilities using a square-foot-allocation method. Unless providers move to more direct-costing methods, CMS reimbursement for these services will continue to negatively impact providers on top of already shrinking reimbursement. 

“The road to payment reform: a guide for advanced imaging compliance with the Protecting Access to Medicare Act:” Policymakers have viewed overuse of advanced imaging modalities as contributing to unsustainable levels of health care spending. This was a driving force behind the passage of PAMA in 2014, which includes a CMS mandate that physicians must consult appropriate use criteria using a qualified clinical decision support mechanism (CDSM) before ordering advanced imaging tests. In August, CMS extended its education and testing period for the mandate through 2021, meaning providers not yet in compliance have an additional year to prepare before punitive measures start in 2022. However, as the article details, gathering physician support and building the CDSM system takes time, so providers should not delay in making the change. 

“Ensuring patient satisfaction of medical imaging in a post-COVID-19 world:” As the pandemic spread across the country in early April, health systems saw an immediate impact on their outpatient imaging volumes, especially in advanced imaging modalities like CT and MRI. Now, as radiology labs in various parts of the country re-open, providers should ensure several key factors are in place to drive patient satisfaction, including extended hours of operation, a robust communication plan, separate entrance and exit doors and more. 

Vizient has the release