The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC) has come out against a recent JAMA Internal Medicine article that included several imaging procedures on a list of low-value medical procedures. Instead, the group has rallied behind the recent passage of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which requires doctors to implement physician-developed appropriate use criteria (AUC) as a method to manage healthcare costs.

“By including AUC in the new law, policymakers have heeded the advice of the broader medical community by laying the foundation for patient-centered, evidence-based care,” said Tim Trysla, executive director of AMIC. “The best way to ensure that patients receive the right scan at the right time is for Medicare to encourage physicians and patients to make treatment decisions that best suit individualized needs and circumstances—not by taking certain life-saving diagnostic imaging services out of context and broadly categorizing them as ‘low value.’”

Starting January 1, 2017, the law (also known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) patch) requires physicians to consult AUC when prescribing advanced imaging procedures for Medicare patients. In a statement, AMIC stated,  “Data have proven that AUC empower physicians and patients and drive appropriate use of medical imaging more effectively than across-the-board Medicare reimbursement cuts that indiscriminately restrict patient access.”

For more details about the SGR patch, read IE’s May/June 2014 feature, “For Medicare Reform, 11th-Hour Decision Support.”