Congress recently threatened to propose yet another round of arbitrary Medicare cuts to medical imaging, despite recent reports showing that imaging growth is flat. The cuts were put forth by the Senate Committee on Finance to pay for an extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program in a pending free trade agreement with South Korea.
Ultimately, the cuts were removed from the final bill, thanks to an intensive effort from the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) that educated and mobilized congressional leaders, most notably Senator John Kerry (D-MA).
Within hours of the proposed cuts, MITA weighed in with an official statement and aggressive media relations. Our message was clear: This should be about providing the right reimbursement to preserve healthcare access, not filling a funding hole in an unrelated bill.
MITA also coordinated with patient groups to voice concern about the impact of the proposed cuts on access to lifesaving diagnostic and medical imaging services. Senator Kerry and others on the Finance Committee pushed for the removal of the cuts from the bill as well.
This was good news for industry, patients, and physicians who have already been hit hard by five separate cuts to imaging in the past five years. These cuts hurt patient access and dramatically slashed physician reimbursements for everything from mammograms and bone density scans to chest x-rays and brain scans.
It is important when policymakers are examining Medicare spending for imaging that they rely on the latest Medicare data. Good policy starts with accurate data and we look forward to continuing to work with the Finance Committee, other members of Congress, and the administration to preserve seniors’ access to the right scan at the right time.
Dave Fisher, Executive Director of MITA and Vice President of NEMA | firstname.lastname@example.org.