Cardiologists look to CT to supplement their income

February 7, 2005

Cardiologists can make money owning CT scanners and performing coronary CT angiography, according to Timothy Attebery, CEO of South Carolina Heart Center in Columbia. Income from the center's coronary CTA scans has risen from $200,000 in 2002 to a projected annualized income of $1 million in 2005.

Cardiologists can make money owning CT scanners and performing coronary CT angiography, according to Timothy Attebery, CEO of South Carolina Heart Center in Columbia. Income from the center's coronary CTA scans has risen from $200,000 in 2002 to a projected annualized income of $1 million in 2005.

The SCHC owns the 16-slice scanner and has contracted with a radiology group in Columbia to provide exclusive overread services. The center must realize a revenue of about $4000 per day to break even on the technical fee. In 2004, it performed five to eight CTA scans daily and expects to be doing 15 per day by the end of this year, Attebery said at the North American Society for Cardiac Imaging meeting in October.

Cardiologists are aware of the efforts of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reduce reimbursement for SPECT perfusion studies, which can constitute up to 30% of a cardiologist's income. In light of this, CT may be the next frontier in cardiac imaging, Attebery said.