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Radiologists, Look Out for the Indendent Payment Advisory Board

Radiologists, Look Out for the Indendent Payment Advisory Board

CHICAGO — Healthcare reform has put pressure on medical imaging spending and promises changes to radiologists’ reimbursements. That you know. But have you heard of the Independent Payment Advisory Board? 

This panel, created by last year’s Affordable Care Act, could have serious implications for radiologists in the future, said Bernard King Jr., MD, of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, speaking at RSNA Monday.

“It’s going to be a very powerful committee,” he said.

The 15-member board is empowered to make recommendations for Medicare spending cuts that would go into effect automatically unless Congress votes to block them, unlike the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC), which requires lawmaker action to take effect. IPAB is required to make recommendations starting in 2014. 

The panel replaces MedPAC and has been characterized as “MedPAC on steroids,” King said.

IPAB is one of the areas where healthcare reform could have long-term implications for radiologists, King said. Radiologists’ reimbursement is “under attack,” with Congress cutting radiology payments in favor of that of primary care physicians. Further, there will be greater pressure on radiologists to be incorporated into hospital systems, and the advancement of imaging technology will be more difficult because of less purchasing and an arduous payment approval process.

“From the government’s perspective, healthcare reform is nothing new,” said King, who outlined the history of government attempts to curb healthcare spending starting in the mid-70s. “But this time around it’s serious for radiologists. The Independent Payment Advisory Board is serious.”


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