ACR warns of MRI reimbursement cuts in 2017

Reimbursement for radiology procedures may face significant reductions in 2017, according to an analysis by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

In its review of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) final rule for 2017, the ACR is warning that MRI could face average reductions from 4% to 19%, but the drop could be as high as 58% for some current procedural terminology (CPT) codes.

The organization cited the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) as the catalyst for the decreased fees. The DRA caps the technical component payment for advanced imaging services at the lesser of the MPFS or the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) payment rate.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a provision within the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) that phased in payment reductions of 20% or more over a two-year period. The ACR has asked CMS to extend the same phase-in policy to DRA reductions in 2017. However, CMS said it does not have the authority to take the same action in regard to DRA reductions.

The ACR plans to post affected CPT codes and related information on its website by the first week of December.

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