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New Analysis Shows Downward Trend in Imaging Utilization
Date:11/18/2011

BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report released by the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA) shows that spending on medical imaging is declining and Medicare patients are consuming fewer imaging services than in previous years.  This analysis confirms earlier findings released by the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (www.asnc.org) as part of the Coalition for Patient-Centered Imaging demonstrating that the volume of outpatient diagnostic imaging services began trending downward in 2007, and in 2010, volume for both standard and advanced imaging services per fee-for-service beneficiary actually fell below 2009 levels.

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Of note in MITA's newest study is that imaging services for each Medicare beneficiary has dropped 13.2 percent since 2006 while spending for non-imaging Medicare services has grown by 20 percent since 2006.  This supports data released earlier this year by ASNC and its coalition partners, which showed that Medicare spending on advanced imaging declined from $5.1 billion in 2006 to $4.3 billion in 2010.

Despite these ongoing trends in medical imaging, policymakers continue to target imaging services for utilization reductions in order to cut overall health care spending.  ASNC strongly supports the judicious use of medical imaging services and has continuously worked to promote patient-centered, high-quality cardiovascular care through guideline development and implementation, professional education, and research promotion.  "ASNC is committed to promoting excellence among imaging professionals," said ASNC President Dr. Leslee Shaw.  "However, the relentless efforts by policymakers to curb imaging utilization based solely on cost rather than quality and appropriate use of the technology threaten clinicians' ability to effectively diagnose and care for patients."

In 2011, ASNC launched Excellence in Imaging, a campaign dedicated to promoting high-quality, appropriate imaging care among health care professionals and patients.  Educating professionals about issues such as appropriate test selection, radiation reduction strategies, and laboratory best practices is the platform of this campaign, which contributes to the ultimate level of care delivered to patients.  More information about this and other quality initiatives at ASNC is available at www.asnc.org.

The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) is the leader in education, advocacy, and quality for the field of nuclear cardiology.  Serving nearly 5,000 individuals in more than 50 countries, ASNC is the only professional association dedicated to the dynamic subspecialty of nuclear cardiology.


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SOURCE American Society of Nuclear Cardiology
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