Anthem vs. hospital-based outpatient imaging back in the spotlight

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Anthem’s decision to quit paying for outpatient imaging exams performed in hospitals is getting broad consumer exposure, as NPR has picked up a Sept. 26 Kaiser Health News report on the development.

The piece presents viewpoints from critics, proponents and interested observers of the move.

One of the critics is J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

If they stay with Anthem, cancer patients being treated within hospitals would “have to go to a new outpatient facility, get the film, get it read and transmitted back to the cancer center,” Lichtenfeld says. “For that patient who's in a lot of stress to begin with, it adds another level of stress.”

Lori McLaughlin, Anthem’s communications director, counters that its members “can save close to $1,000 out-of-pocket for some imaging services for those who haven’t met their deductible and up to $200 for those whose plans require only a copay.”

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