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MICI Q1: Reimbursement Concerns Still Dominate

Concerns over reimbursement continue to weigh heavily on the minds of radiology administrators, according to the latest numbers from the Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI). Administrators surveyed for the index’s first quarter expressed lower optimism that they would be adequately reimbursed by Medicare.

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Hatch Bill to Repeal Medical Device Tax Advances to Senate Finance

A bill aiming to repeal the medical device tax sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) advanced to the Senate Finance Committee in February.

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ICD-10 Deadline Won’t Be Delayed, Tavenner Tells HIMSS

Providers, payers and claims clearinghouses can look for no relief from the looming, Oct. 1 compliance deadline for the nationwide conversion to the ICD-10 family of diagnostic and procedural codes, the head of the CMS said Thursday. But some case-by-case exemptions will be made for providers having a tough time meeting their Stage 2 meaningful-use targets, she said.

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Imaging Looms Large On New List Of Low-value Emergency Exams

If one list of unnecessary medical procedures is good, then two lists should be better, right? That could be the thinking behind a new list released this week in JAMA Internal Medicine of unnecessary tests in emergency medicine that are driving up healthcare costs. And the new list takes aim specifically at medical imaging.

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American College of Cardiology Highlights Noninvasive Cardiovascular Imaging Issues

Noninvasive cardiovascular imaging in U.S. medical practice today raises two policy challenges, according to a statement released on Feb. 17 by the American College of Cardiology and 13 collaborating medical groups: fostering a volume of imaging that balances patient needs with responsible use of societal resources, and continued improvement in the quality of care based on noninvasive cardiovascular imaging. “The purpose of this document is to provide a brief exposition of the issues involved [in usage volume of noninvasive cardiovascular imaging] and the possible ways in which the medical care system can balance responsible use of imaging with patient safety concerns while maintaining or even enhancing quality of care,” wrote the 20-member panel in a health policy statement (J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 2014;63:698-721).

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Medical Device Tax Jobs Toll: 33K and Counting, Says AdvaMed

AdvaMed has surveyed its members about the medical device excise tax that Obamacare ushered in last year. The med tech industry trade group found that companies reported job losses, R&D cuts and slackening investment in U.S. manufacturing.

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New Data From Canadian Study Revive Breast Screening Battle

The battle over breast screening was revived yet again this week with data from a controversial Canadian study in BMJ that cast doubt on mammography’s effectiveness for women ages 40 to 59. Mammography proponents quickly rose to point out flaws in the trial, which contradicts other population-based breast screening studies.

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ACOs and Cardiology: Trend Hints At Some Alignment

Cardiology may be a step ahead of some other specialties in participation in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). An analysis of self-referrals to specialists found that the percentage of new patient self-referrals in cardiology was lower than the national norm for both Medicare and private insurance beneficiaries.

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Hackers Broke Into The Big 3–And Left The Door Open For Months, Report Says

It’s a story that could confirm the worst fears of med tech implant wearers at the highest level of U.S. government: Some time during the first half of 2013, hackers reportedly broke into the computer networks of the big three medical device makers, and the breach might have stayed open for “several months.”

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MRI Scanner Installed Base Is Long In The Tooth

The average age of the installed base of MRI scanners in the U.S. grew from 8.7 years in 2010 to 11.4 years in 2013, meaning that many scanners could be due for a replacement, according to a new market research report by IMV Medical Information Division. With the last spike of new MRI installations taking place from 2002 to 2004, the market is ready to replace older units that are at the end of their useful lives, said Lorna Young, senior director of market research at IMV, in a statement. Imaging providers also plan to take advantage of the wider bore sizes and higher magnet field strengths that are now available, she said.

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