Week in Review: New Medicare payment rates | PET for immunotherapy | Breast cancer risk

Dear AuntMinnie Member,

Every year, the release of new Medicare payment rates for the upcoming year is an event usually viewed with trepidation by healthcare providers. This year was no exception as the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final decision on payment rates for 2022.

CMS largely hewed to guidance it released over the summer for new payment rates for its Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System. And there's the rub -- many physician groups lobbied furiously against those proposed rates.

The radiation oncology community is particularly worried after CMS declined to postpone the implementation of a radical restructuring of the payment structure for radiation therapy exams. Our coverage of the new rates was the top story on AuntMinnie.com for the past week.

Also going into effect in January 2022 will be new federal rules restricting "surprise billing" for healthcare services provided outside of a patient's insurance network. The rules include provisions for resolving disputes between payers and providers -- learn more in an article by Sandy Coffta of Healthcare Administrative Partners.

And we caught up with Erin Stephens, also of Healthcare Administrative Partners, in a video interview to discuss new updates to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) coding system. Visit our Imaging Leaders Community to learn more.

PET for immunotherapy

A new radiotracer shows promise for determining which patients with melanoma or non-small cell lung cancer will respond to immunotherapy treatment, according to a new study we're highlighting.

Dutch researchers used PET imaging in patients who received an immunotherapy drug combined with zirconium-89 (so-called "immuno-PET"). They found that uptake in tumor lesions corresponded to response to therapy. Get the full story in our Molecular Imaging Community.

Breast cancer risk

In our Women's Imaging Community, learn about a new study that quantifies the risk women with early-stage breast cancer face of having the disease spread to other parts of the body, and learn about attitudes toward MRI breast screening with an abbreviated scanning protocol.

Other stories in the community over the past week include an article on anxiety that women with ductal carcinoma in situ may experience waiting for results from breast MRI exams, and a study by Signify Research of the U.K. that quantified how much mammography equipment sales fell in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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