NEMA questions CMS accounting methods

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) of Rosslyn, VA, has warned of potentially inaccurate spending estimates from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). NEMA cautioned that CMS' estimate of increases in health expenditures under the federal government's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula could be misinterpreted to mean that overall Medicare spending on medical imaging is growing faster than it really is.

The reason for the inaccuracy is the SGR formula, which calculates increases in imaging services done in physician offices and freestanding imaging centers, but does not factor in any offsetting reductions when those services replace imaging or other medical procedures formerly done in the hospital outpatient setting, NEMA said.

In addition, CMS' accounting of the use of imaging also fails to take into account any savings that the Medicare program may derive from the use of that imaging, NEMA said. This is important because there are many instances in which the use of imaging is offsetting other costs, according to the association.

By staff writers
April 21, 2006

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