ASRT backs radiopharmaceutical reform bill

The American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) voiced their support for recent legislation that seeks to improve patient-access to radiopharmaceuticals in an Aug, 1 statement.

House Resolution 3772—The Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act of 2019—would alter how radiopharmaceuticals are bundled—a central problem to limited access—and create a simpler Medicare billing scheme for nuclear medicine procedures.

Currently, CMS treats diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals as supplies and packages them into “procedural bundles,” despite being defined as drugs by statute, according to ASRT. This, the society argues, creates a problem because the costs of such radiopharmaceuticals are different depending on nuclear medicine procedure.

Furthermore, the statement read, “the current process discourages hospitals to utilize innovative and targeted radiopharmaceuticals, limits investment in and research for new diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals and may impede patient access to the most appropriate diagnostic tools at readily accessible health care locations.

In addition, it may also result in inaccurate diagnoses and ineffective treatment plans.”

Last month, both the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) and the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA) hosted a briefing at Capitol Hill voicing their support for HR 3772.

Terri Wilson, chair of the MITA PET Group, said passing the bill would be “a huge step in ensuring patient access and equitable reimbursement for these important diagnostic tools.”