Radiologists seek compensation for ‘irrational’ law

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A radiology partnership is claiming in federal court that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, slated to begin enforcing penalties for Meaningful Use noncompliance in 2015, is “irrational” and should be declared unconstitutional, according to Courthouse News Service.

Diagnostic Imaging Group, Ernest Mckenzie, MD, and John Hamlin, MD, have sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Novitas Solutions.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will place penalties on medical professionals who fail to submit Meaningful Use reports, which are comprised of patient history and physical exam information, with their Medicare bills.

The plaintiffs claim that the law’s meaningful use rules don’t distinguish between hospital-based radiologists who only interpret outpatient and inpatient images and hospital-based radiologists who are interventionalists, interacting with patients and acquiring histories and physicals.

They add that the defendants refuse to compensate hospital radiologists for performing histories and exams that are required by law. The radiologists allege that this refusal is involuntary servitude and therefore violates the 13th and 5th Amendments.

The plaintiffs are seeking a court order declaring that requiring such radiologists to submit meaningful use data is unconstitutional. They are also open to an alternative verdict in which a court order would declare the defendants’ need to compensate for history and physical examinations performed on Medicare and Medicaid patients in the pursuit of meaningful use data, according to the Courthouse News report.