Imaging use plunges as coding, reimbursement tightens up

From Modern Healthcare:

Medical imaging use in the U.S. has dropped significantly after years of widespread growth, leading to curtailed hiring, equipment purchases and reduced access to the technology thanks to cuts in federal reimbursement and new coding arrangements, according to a new study.

After the imaging boom of the 2000s, payers reined in reimbursements and spared a rapid reduction in providers’ imaging use. Those funding changes have forced providers to weigh carefully their hiring and patient care decisions, the study published in the April edition of Health Affairs said.

Providers may not purchase as much imaging equipment or hire additional radiologists because of the reimbursement decline, said Dr. Daniel Levin, lead author of the study, as they prepare for a future of limited or no growth in imaging use.

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