Lawsuit hits CMS over beta-amyloid PET; breast MRI audits; breast screening debate at ICR 2014

Dear AuntMinnie Member,

A lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) over the agency's reimbursement policy for beta-amyloid PET radiopharmaceuticals, used to detect early signs of Alzheimer's disease. And the litigation is apparently being funded by Eli Lilly, which markets the Amyvid beta-amyloid PET agent.

The suit was filed on September 5 by three private individuals who are Medicare beneficiaries. It charges that the reimbursement policy released by CMS last year -- which restricts payments for beta-amyloid PET scans to those performed as part of a clinical study -- is overly restrictive and goes beyond both the agency's mandate and its past coverage decisions for other products.

In an intriguing twist, Eli Lilly is funding the lawsuit, according to published coverage of the litigation. Under Medicare rules, the company is prohibited from filing its own court case, but it can pay for lawsuits filed by others.

Will the litigation force CMS to open the Medicare purse strings for beta-amyloid PET? Or is it a high-stakes gamble by Eli Lilly that could backfire? Check out our coverage by clicking here, or visit our Molecular Imaging Digital Community at

Breast MRI audits

How effective is your breast MRI service in detecting cancer, and how does it compare to national benchmarks?

The latter is a trick question, because there really aren't any national benchmarks for assessing the clinical performance of breast MRI. A group from Massachusetts General Hospital hopes to change that with a new study that chronicles the clinical performance of the hospital's breast MRI operation.

In addition to chronicling their success in finding breast cancer, the researchers reported that breast MRI's performance varies greatly depending on whether it's being used for screening or for diagnostic indications. The modality's positive predictive value also changed depending on when it was used in the diagnostic workup process. Learn more by clicking here.

In other MRI news, a new study published this week in Radiology found that MRI detected gray-matter changes in the brain that were linked with disease severity in multiple sclerosis patients. Get the details by clicking here, or visit the community at

Breast screening debate at ICR 2014

Our coverage of the International Congress of Radiology (ICR) continues this week in our AuntMinnie Middle East special section.

In a Wednesday keynote lecture, breast imaging specialist Dr. Rola Shaheen discussed the ongoing controversy over breast screening, stating that quality of life has largely been ignored in the debate over mammography's harms and benefits. Finding a cancer earlier will not only save a woman's life, it will also result in treatments that are less onerous for the patients. Read more by clicking here.

Attendees at the Dubai meeting also had the opportunity to check out one of pop music's biggest stars, who appeared at a concert near the conference venue. Wondering who it was? Here's a hint -- the flamboyant artist had to agree to tone down her often risqué outfits for the conservative country. Find out who it was by visiting our photo gallery at the bottom of this page, or visit AuntMinnie Middle East at

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