Miami, Palm Beach lead Florida in imaging costs

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State figures show that the Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties in Florida have a lot more medical imaging centers per patient than other state counties, leading to unnecessary visits and higher health insurance costs.

South Florida Business Journal (SFBJ) researched concentrations of imaging facilities in the state after a Government Accountability Office report in June showed Florida Medicare beneficiaries rang up more in-office imaging spending in 2006–$472 per enrollee–than any other state.

The data was provided by the Florida Department of Health, which tracks x-ray and nuclear medicine imaging facilities that use radioactive isotopes to conduct cardiac stress tests. The state did not include other imaging facilities, such as those offering MRI and CT.

Miami-Dade has 918 x-ray facilities, or 3.85 for every 10,000 residents, which is a higher concentration than any other county and exceeded the state average per resident by 47 percent. Palm Beach has 3.44 such facilities per resident, which beat the state average by 28 percent, reported the SFBJ.

Miami-Dade also had more nuclear imaging facilities per resident than the state average, but Palm Beach had an even higher concentration and topped the state average by 44 percent.