Due to the recent 2010 reimbursement rate cuts, University Nuclear and Diagnostics (UND), a nuclear lab management company, has recently launched a project specifically designed to bring about awareness to physician practices and hospitals in the U.S. of sorely needed solutions for reducing SPECT testing costs, and how to immediately implement them.
Research shows that facilities' cost per cardiac stress test ranges between $300 and $600, depending on the practice, with the average cardiologist performing about 800 tests annually. With reimbursements for these tests set at their lowest levels in history (current Medicare rates are $400 to $750 depending upon region), in many cases, the practice will actually endure a financial loss each study, said UND.
UND has launched “Awareness and Education” in direct response to the situation and specifically to educate practices about solutions for reducing testing costs.
Utilizing a proprietary calculator, and a 52-point analysis of equipment, expenses, staffing and scheduling, the project offers a free practice assessment for practices that are currently or wish to begin offering testing. Then, with the implementation and review of procedures, personnel training, tech pay, isotope costs, ICANL certification, physicists, licensing, and other efficiency methods, a practice will be shown how to immediately cut its operating costs by 25 percent, and in many cases up to 50 percent.
Also included in the campaign will be symposia for doctors and administrators looking for methods to reduce testing costs.
"If costs remain at the levels they are now, there will be significant negative effects to both the practitioner and the patient, who may not be able to receive the diagnostic. Ultimately, patient care could be impacted and that is not only unacceptable but also completely unnecessary," said Avi E. Soffer, CEO of the Davie, Fla.-based company.