Radiologists, cardiologists square off before Congress

May 1, 2005

Discordant radiologists and cardiologists testifying before Congress in March came to terms on at least one point. They agreed that the government should set standards allowing only qualified physicians to perform imaging studies, even though they disagreed on who should provide those services.

Discordant radiologists and cardiologists testifying before Congress in March came to terms on at least one point. They agreed that the government should set standards allowing only qualified physicians to perform imaging studies, even though they disagreed on who should provide those services.

Dr. James P. Borgstede, chair of the American College of Radiology's board of chancellors (above), told the panel that nonradiologists who own imaging equipment are up to seven times more likely to order diagnostic tests than those who refer patients to imaging facilities in which they have no financial interest.

Dr. Kim Allen Williams, director of nuclear cardiology at the University of Chicago, representing the Coalition for Patient-Centered Imaging, said that self-referral, as it is labeled by self-interest groups outside the physician specialty community, is not the primary driver in the growth of imaging services.

Congress is investigating the steep increase in medical imaging costs.