The latest “doc fix” law signed by Congress back in April, otherwise known as the Protecting Access to Medicare Act, may have yet again delayed cuts to physician reimbursements under Medicare, but it also has the potential to cut payments to radiologists and is already changing the landscape of the CT market.

Lawmakers used what has become their annual delay of the Medicare payment adjustment to address a host of other health care issues, including concerns about exposure to radiation from CT scans. Under the law, which takes effect at the beginning of 2016, hospitals, doctors’ offices and imaging centers will see their Medicare reimbursements cut by 5 percent on diagnostic CT scans if the machines they use for the exams don’t meet the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance’s (MITA) Smart Dose Standard. The cut will be hiked to 15 percent by 2017.

Reducing dose in CT has long been a priority for both OEMs and radiologists alike,but the new legislation and reporting requirements have led to a closer look at how to track and lower dose — and protect patients from unnecessary radiation exposure.

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