IDTF procedures increasing

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Medicare has released data that reveals that imaging procedures performed at independent diagnostic testing facilities (IDTFs) have risen over 200 percent from 2000 to 2005. There is clearly a rise in procedures, but the difference between IDTFs and physician offices is unclear to many, according to the American College of Radiology (ACR).

IDTF is a site-of-service category that describes a diagnostic testing facility not classified as a physician's office or hospital outpatient facility, said Bibb Allen, MD, vice chair of the ACR Commission on Economics. However, the way a facility is classified does not indicate ownership.

"IDTFs can be owned by individual physicians, groups of physicians, and by physician entrepreneurs. Even hospitals can participate in ownership of these facilities," said Allen.

IDTFs, which monitored by CMS, are subject to Stark legislation regarding permissible and impermissible self-referral and have stricter supervision guidelines than physician offices, said Allen.