SAN ANTONIO—According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), all non-hospital providers of advanced diagnostic imaging, inclusive of nuclear medicine, MR, CT and PET, must obtain accreditation as a condition for reimbursement by Jan. 1, 2012. Just who is authorized to offer such accreditation was the subject of a June 26 afternoon presentation at the 2011 Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) conference & expo.
In analyzing cost, staff requirements, equipment quality control, protocols, quality assurance and case study submissions to compare the designated accrediting organizations, Carl Grieco, a nuclear medicine technologist who has assisted more than 60 nuclear medicine laboratories in obtaining accreditation, carefully outlined the details of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA).
As explained by Grieco, MIPPA was approved by Congress and became law in July 2008. The law itself requires accreditation of providers of the technical component for advanced diagnostic imaging services (MRI, CT and nuclear medicine/PET) by an entity identified by the secretary of the Department of the Health and Human Services prior to Jan. 1, 2012 to be eligible for the technical component payment.
In order to help healthcare facilities achieve accreditation by the Jan. 1, 2012 deadline, the CMS designated the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Nuclear Medicine Laboratories (ICANL) and the Joint Commission as the official accrediting organizations for MIPPA.
Grieco specifically targeted the three different fee structures to help illustrate the differences between the accrediting bodies. ICANL, for example, offers comprehensive nuclear medicine accreditation (nuclear medicine testing and nuclear cardiology testing and/or PET testing) for $3,800, while the ACR imposes a fee of $1,200 per facility, plus a per unit fee based on the number of modules/sub modules per unit. The Joint Commission, on the other hand, establishes its fee using a formula that calculates both annual visits and additional sites.
The fees may change based on organization, said Grieco, but the duration of accreditation does not change. “Accreditation by any one of these organizations is good for three years,” said Grieco.