The U.S. Joint Commission has proposed more-stringent requirements in the ambulatory care, critical access hospital, and hospital accreditation programs for facilities that provide CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, and PET services. “Research has indicated that the current Joint Commission requirements need to be enhanced to address several significant quality- and safety-related issues associated with diagnostic imaging,” the commission stated in its proposed revisions.
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The financial outlook for hospitals under healthcare reform initially appears rocky but may perk up with time. Medical devices makers, on the other hand, should brace for difficulties, according to a report published July 17 by Moody’s Investors Service.
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After years of growth, the utilization rate for MRI exams in the Medicare population fell 3.2 percent between 2008 and 2010, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
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We all know that most of our medical expenses occur at the end of life. This study reported by AuntMinnie showed that stage 4 Medicare cancer patients were being sent for advanced imaging studies more frequently than those with earlier stages of disease. The conclusion drawn by the investigators was that guidelines have to be developed for the appropriate use of advanced imaging in stage 4 cancer patients. I suspect the Government and other payers will be looking closely at the results of this investigation.