With Reimbursement Cuts Looming, Should I Upgrade to Digital Radiography?

September 7, 2016 | Evaluations & Guidance


In December 2015, the U.S. Congress passed legislation aimed at incentivizing healthcare providers to update the technology used in radiography. Specifically, the law encourages healthcare providers to transition to digital radiographic (DR) technology.

The law achieves this aim by reducing Medicare reimbursement rates for the technical component of radiography studies that are performed using the older screen/film or computed radiography (CR) technologies. (See: Title V—Medicare and Medicaid Provisions—Sec. 502. Rules Committee Print 114-39; https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2029/text#toc-H515847E173044AE4BDC7EE1DAFAB2712. )

The table below summarizes the reimbursement reduction, relative the standard reimbursement rate, for 2017 and subsequent years. These reductions apply to the whole exam, even if only part of the exam is performed with the older equipment.

While these reductions currently affect only patients with Medicare or similar insurance, it is likely that other insurance providers will follow.

The upcoming changes to the reimbursement rates are prompting facilities that use film or CR systems to consider upgrading their existing equipment to accommodate DR detectors. The chart below illustrates the broad-based interest in this topic among ECRI Institute's SELECTplus...

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