Are Trump’s PAMA legislation delays causing unnecessary imaging?

Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) in 2014 with the intent of reducing expensive, unnecessary imaging orders. Five years later the legislation is set to enter a testing period, with CMS still undecided on when penalties will begin. A new investigation published by NPR asks if the delays have had an impact on patients.

PAMA, which requires physicians to consult a clinical decision support tool (CDS) for advanced imaging orders before reimbursement, goes into effect next year, but many experts claim the already numerous delays have wasted valuable resources, exposed patients to unneeded exams and will mean “many more “inappropriate imaging procedures will be performed,” said Gary Young, director of the Northeastern University Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Research in Boston, to NPR.

Others argue that doctors may be confused by the program and may face workflow disruptions, despite others claiming the additional work will take less than a minute.

"My fear is that it will be a huge disruption in workflow and show no benefit," said Craig Blackmore, a radiologist at Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle.

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