Published on November 8, 2012 at 7:04 AM
"The closures are likely forcing many to commute further and wait longer for appointments to receive care. This may also force seniors to pay more out of pocket in Medicare co-pays as imaging is increasingly offered only in larger hospitals where care is often more expensive. More importantly, these longer commute and wait times may delay diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and injury until the ailments are at advanced stages when they can't be as successfully or inexpensively treated. Congress needs to act now and halt this regression in health care before others are hurt or simply can't get modern imaging care in their communities" said Ellenbogen.
Most importantly, medical imaging cuts are unnecessary. Imaging is not a primary driver of health care costs. Despite an aging population that demands increasingly more health care services, a recent Neiman Institute Report, study in JACR and Moran Company report show imaging use and imaging costs are down significantly since 2006. Medicare spending on imaging scans is the same today as it was in 2003. The Health Care Cost Institute reported that imaging costs are the slowest growing of all physician services among the privately insured.
"Medical imaging exams save lives, resources and time. Scans generally cost less than the invasive surgeries that they replace and can find illnesses early — when they can be treated most effectively and inexpensively. Electronic physician order entry systems, incorporating evidence-based ACR Appropriateness Criteria®, have been shown to improve quality, reduce unnecessary scans and lower imaging costs. Anyone who contends that medical imaging is responsible for escalating medical costs is either misinformed or purposefully misinforming others. Congress needs to act to ensure that imaging is readily available to those who need care," said Ellenbogen.
Source American College of Radiology