HCFA approves MR spectroscopy payments

February 4, 1998

The Health Care Financing Administration has approved Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for MR spectroscopy, giving a major boost to this still-developing procedure. HCFA's decision is retroactive to Jan. 1, and imaging facilities are reporting that

The Health Care Financing Administration has approved Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for MR spectroscopy, giving a major boost to this still-developing procedure. HCFA's decision is retroactive to Jan. 1, and imaging facilities are reporting that they have been receiving payments for the technique.

MR spectroscopy has piqued the interest of researchers for years, but has had difficulty making the leap to widespread clinical usage. The technology involves using MRI to evaluate metabolic activity by analyzing the chemical composition of tissue, which can change in the presence of pathology. MRS has particular application in investigating neurological activity, but it can also be used for examining muscle tissue and the liver.

The details of Medicare spectroscopy coverage are still a bit hazy, but a hospital in Philadelphia reports that it is being paid a global fee of $537.38 for spectroscopy exams. The CPT code for MR spectroscopy is 76390.