AHRA: Most practices still use CR, despite pay cut

2017 03 09 14 05 24 948 Chest Lung Xray 400

The AHRA has released results from its 2017 survey on the use of computed radiography (CR) and digital radiography (DR): It found that 75% of responding AHRA members still have one to five CR units in their departments, despite 2016 federal legislation that cut reimbursement for CR exams.

The survey sheds light on AHRA member patterns in response to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which included provisions that gave providers incentives for transitioning to a DR environment. The bill stated that payment for imaging studies performed using film instead of DR would be reduced by 20%, effective January 1, 2017, and payment for imaging studies performed using CR would be reduced by 7% from 2018 to 2022 and by 10% from 2023 thereafter.

AHRA's survey had a 28% response rate. Results included the following:

  • Only 29% of participants have upgraded CR units to DR.
  • 75% of AHRA members have one to five CR units in their departments.
  • 42% plan to keep the CR units and take the payment reduction, due to the cost of upgrading to DR, which 53% stated would be more than $150,000.

Beginning this year, claims for CR services furnished for x-rays must include modifier FY, which triggers the payment reduction. The AHRA found that 42% of survey participants will apply the modifier for exams performed using a combination of CR and DR, if even one image is taken using CR.

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