Doctors may be fined for over-doing scans

Doctors who frequently recommend inappropriate medical imaging may be financially penalised.

That’s one suggestion in a 51-page report presented for debate by the Senate this summer as part of a comprehensive healthcare legislation. If approved, in 2013, a new payments sliding scale would be established, with financial penalties in the form of lower rates for doctors and their facilities if they order an extraordinarily large number of inappropriate procedures.
If the recommendations are accepted, physicians also would be obliged to inform patients of their financial interests in MRI, CT, PET and possibly other services provided in their offices. They would also have to comply with ‘appropriateness criteria’ for high-tech imaging, including criteria for measuring compliance levels.
Aiming to minimise wasteful scanning and avoidable patient radiation exposure, the document also outlines a new imaging information organisation, created to collect and share imaging utilisation data, with feedback to ordering physicians on their compliance with appropriateness criteria.
Another suggestion is to set up five regional Diagnostic Imaging Exchange Networks to cover the US. Their aim: to help physicians determine the necessity, safety, and appropriateness of imaging and minimise duplicate scanning and patient radiation exposure.
Further, to address the cumulative effects of radiation-based imaging studies, physicians should use IT to access a patient's entire imaging history before ordering
new studies.

01.05.2009

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