Ultrasound Claims Increasing Among Emergency Department Providers

October 1, 2018
Diagnostic Imaging Staff

Biggest increase in retroperitoneal, soft tissue, and transabdominal GU studies.

Medical claims for many limited ultrasound studies are increasing more among emergency department (ED) providers than radiologists, according to a study published in the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine.

Researchers from Minnesota and Connecticut performed a retrospective, descriptive study to evaluate trends in medical claim submissions for limited ultrasound studies performed during ED encounters and by ED providers compared to radiologists.

The researchers obtained medical claims data from Medica Health Plans from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2015. They identified 42,576 encounters with limited US claims, of which, 32,666 were submitted by one of 9,649 ED providers or 23,017 radiologists.

The results showed a significant linear increase in the annual number of claims for retroperitoneal and nonlinear increases for thoracic, soft tissue, cardiac, transvaginal genitourinary (GU) and transabdominal GU claims among ED providers. Compared with radiologists, there was a linear increase in the annual proportion of claims submitted for retroperitoneal, transabdominal GU, and transvaginal GU studies by ED providers. There was a nonlinear decrease in the annual proportion of limited abdomen claims submitted by ED providers compared with radiologists.

The researchers concluded that medical claims for many limited ultrasound studies are increasing among ED providers, in particular for retroperitoneal, soft tissue, and transabdominal GU studies.

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