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July 18, 2006 House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing "Use of Imaging Services: Providing Appropriate Care for Medicare Beneficiaries."  

The hearing offered the opportunity for the Committee to question CMS on the impact of the imaging service cuts from the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA).  The committee members were not generally sympathetic to the DRA language, and were also concerned over the last minute process that resulted in the addition of the Imaging funding cuts in the Bill. They also discussed the Access to Medicare Imaging Act of 2006 (HR 5704).

The testimony that was submitted at the July 18, 2006 House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing "Use of Imaging Services: Providing Appropriate Care for Medicare Beneficiaries" is on aapm.org at the following link:  

Most of the witnesses from Panel II supported some type of imaging standards, either federally mandated or developed by the professional medical societies. An exception was the Ob/Gyn specialty who opposed standards for Ultrasound Imaging in Ob/Gyn practices.  There appeared to be consensus that there should be equipment and performance standards for all imaging services.  Clearly there was some inter-specialty disagreement as to the form such standards would take.  There were many comparisons to the MQSA precedent having demonstrated the efficacy of imaging standards in enhancing patient care without impacting access.

Representative Pickering took this time to talk about the importance of the CARE Act (H.R. 1426) which was why ASRT was invited to give testimony. This was not the official subject of the hearing.

Of note, Herb Kuhn of CMS stated that radiation oncology will be included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 imaging cuts slated to take effect on January 1, 2006. It had previously been uncertain as to the application of the language in DRA to Radiation Oncology related imaging services.  

Witnesses:

Panel I

Panel II

Houston Chronicle Article


Congressional Quarterly Write Up


Deficit Reduction Act - see page 36


Access to Medicare Imaging Act of 2006


AMIC Press Statement