Bill could be good medicine for imaging vendors

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Some diagnostic imaging technology companies have fingers crossed that legislation being mulled over by lawmakers will halt cuts implemented to Medicare reimbursements for imaging procedures this year.

Different versions of the bill, Access to Medicare Imaging Act of 2007, bipartisan legislation calling for a two-year freeze of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), have been introduced to both the House and Senate this year. A previous version of the bill was never passed by lawmakers before the close of the last session. reports that vendors such as GE Healthcare are hopeful that the bill will lift the DRA cuts that they believe are hurting potential profit and hindering some patients from getting the diagnostic exams that they need.

Peter Kay, a legislative aid for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) who reintroduced the House version of the bill earlier this year, told that the new bill has bipartisan support, but also faces hostility from lawmakers opposed to lifting the cuts. They feel that doing so would only lead to fraudulent behavior at imaging centers where they believe unneeded exams are sometimes ordered. Rather, McCarthy’s office believes that the bill will help prevent late-state disease, Kay said.

Others see some medical facilities at a standstill because they are waiting to see if the DRA halt will have traction before they make imaging system purchase decisions.