September 20, 2007—On Sept 18, House and Senate negotiators finally reached an agreement regarding the size and scope of the CHAMP Act. Their compromise version of the legislation will not include any Medicare provisions; it closely resembles the original Senate legislation, which calls for a $35 billion expansion of the SCHIP to be paid for with a 61 cent increase in the federal tobacco tax.

The fact that CHAMP’s Medicare provisions were not included in the final package means that the House will have to set aside those provisions until the Senate is ready to address Medicare later in the fall. The House’s Medicare package includes a reprieve from the 10% and 5% cuts to physician payments, which were scheduled in 2008 and 2009 under the sustainable growth rate formula. Also included were additional cuts to the technical component of imaging services and language calling for equipment certification requirements for providers of medical imaging.

This new development gives the American College of Radiology (ACR), Reston, Va, additional time to work on improving the House language and addressing the imaging cuts contained in CHAMP, as well as advocating for full accreditation for advanced diagnostic imaging services to resemble the ACR’s current programs.