Reaction mixed from imaging, radiology groups to Obama budget

The Obama Administration's 2015 budget proposal is receiving a mixed response from imaging and radiology groups.

The American College of Radiology noted that for the second consecutive year, the administration recommends eliminating the In-Office Ancillary Services (IOAS) Exception for diagnostic imaging, radiation oncology, physical therapy and anatomic pathology. ACR applauded the recommendation and said in a statement that it "will continue to advocate for the loophole's closure, which it believes is long overdue."

The Alliance for Integrity in Medicare (AIM) also expressed its support for IOAS reform in the president's budget, applauding its recommendation to exclude anatomic pathology, advanced diagnostic imaging, radiation therapy and physical therapy services from the IOAS exception, except in cases where a practice meets certain accountability standards, as defined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. AIM also pointed out that the Office of Management and the Budget estimates that closing the loophole for these services would provide a savings of $6 billion dollars over a 10-year period. 

However, both ACR and the Medical Imaging Technology Alliance were less than pleased with a proposal in the budget to require prior authorization for Medicare for advanced imaging.

"The President's budget directly counteracts the Administration's efforts to reduce healthcare costs and encourage advanced manufacturing in communities across our country by instituting a burdensome prior authorization system," MITA Executive Director Gail Rodriguez said in a statement. "Inserting a bureaucratic middleman between physicians and patients will limit seniors' access to diagnostic services, while resulting in wasteful healthcare spending and fewer investments in research and development.

Rodriguez said that instead, the president and Congress need to work together on "evidence-based solutions to guide proper use of imaging services," such as adopting physician-developed appropriate use criteria.

The proposed budget allocates $100 million for the BRAIN initiative, which includes $4 million for brain imaging research.

To learn more:
- see the statement from the ACR
- read the statement from AIM
- check out the statement from MITA
- here's the NIH overview of the BRAIN initiative

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