New Report Indicating Decline in CT Utilization Should Discourage Further Medicare Reimbursement Cuts

01.17.14

Washington, D.C. – The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) today said a new report reaffirms that utilization of advanced medical imaging services is declining and should discourage additional Medicare reimbursement cuts and other obstacles that could further impede patient access. The report indicates that the number of computed tomography (CT) procedures performed in the United States has declined at an average annual rate of 5.5 percent over the past two years.

“This report adds to the already substantial body of evidence indicating a sustained slowdown in utilization of advanced imaging technologies in the United States,” said Gail Rodriguez, executive director of MITA. “Further across-the-board reimbursement cuts to medical imaging services at a time when utilization is clearly on the decline would only contribute to the many access barriers that millions of patients in need of care currently face.”

The report, developed by market research firm IMV Medical Information Division, was based on their September 2013 survey of managers of 424 U.S. imaging facilities. Findings concluded that CT procedure volume peaked in 2011 with 85.3 million studies performed in the United States. That number fell 5.5 percent to 80.6 million studies in 2012, and volume declined another 5.5 percent to 76 million examinations in 2013.

This latest report is consistent with the findings of several recent independent analyses which have shown a similar decline in utilization of imaging technologies. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s (MedPAC) annual report to Congress in March 2012 confirmed that imaging services fell by 2.5 percent in 2010, while non-imaging utilization increased 2 percent. These data are consistent with an analysis commissioned by MITA which found that Medicare spending per beneficiary in the field has dropped 13.2 percent since 2006 and imaging utilization declined by 3 percent. This contrasts markedly with the overall Medicare program, in which spending per beneficiary increased by 20 percent and non-imaging utilization rose by 2 percent.

In lieu of Medicare reimbursement cuts, MITA continues to advocate for the use of physician-developed appropriateness criteria to guide treatment decisions as well as training of hospital and imaging facility personnel who perform medical imaging exams to ensure the safe and effective use of the technology in every setting.

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The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of NEMA, is the collective voice of medical imaging equipment, radiation therapy and radiopharmaceutical manufacturers, innovators and product developers. It represents companies whose sales comprise more than 90 percent of the global market for medical imaging and radiation therapy technologies. For more information, visit www.medicalimaging.org. Follow MITA on Twitter @MITAToday.