Reduced Medicare Payments for Film and CR

Medicare payments will be reduced by 20% for providers submitting claims for analog x-ray studies starting in 2017 under a provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which was enacted into law in December 2015. Starting in 2018, payments for imaging studies performed on CR equipment would be reduced by 7% for the next five years, and 10% after that. In order to get the greatest payout per study from medicare DR must be used for image acquisition.

DR technology has come a long way. The prices have gone down over the past few years due to advances in technology. Also resolution has been steadily increasing. These advancements make it a great time to reconsider upgrading.

Upgrading will greatly increase throughput of the x-ray department. Most panels have a cycle time as low as 10-12 seconds. This is much quicker then CR or film which is usually around 30-90 seconds. Many DR systems also tie into the x-ray generator which reduces the number of steps needed to take an x-ray. This further reduces the time required per exam.

Reduced maintenance costs is another great perk. There are no moving parts to wear out. Preventive maintenance takes less time to complete due to the reduced complexity of the system. Additionally money is saved by no longer having to buy film, chemistry, or monthly processor cleanings..

The reduced payments is just another nudge to try to get medical facilities to upgrade to newer equipment. It is a great time to upgrade when considering all the other additional benefits.