March 9, 2007—The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va, has spoken out against the most recent analysis of the growth of imaging services released by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC).

“It’s pretty obvious that MedPAC still doesn’t get it,” said Andrew Whitman, MITA vice president. “MedPAC continues to focus only on imaging growth without giving a second thought to what patients are getting for that—from faster recoveries, to less disability, to less invasive treatment. Yet while MedPAC continues to repeat itself about imaging growth, it is still not addressing what Congress has repeatedly asked: How much of imaging growth is actually from inappropriate utilization and how much is simply because imaging provides the best care possible for diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical conditions?”

Whitman criticized MedPAC for overstating the size of growth in medical imaging—in particular, for overlooking the impact of the migration of imaging services from hospital outpatient departments to physician offices and imaging centers. Whitman also noted that MedPAC calls imaging “overutilized” without conducting any analysis of the reasons for the industry’s rapid growth.

“Until MedPAC takes a full and honest look at what medical imaging provides in terms of cost savings and quality improvements, its recommendations on imaging growth resonate with the narrow, cost-cutting sounds of a typical payor,” said Whitman.

—Cat Vasko