A bill introduced in congress that is created to close a loophole in which Physicians can self-refer diagnostic imaging services does not cover ultrasound, X-Ray, nor fluoroscopy studies. This is a big deal with the recent boom of physician-based ultrasound in which many physicians are bringing ultrasound units into their offices for a wide variety of imaging needs. A link to the story from AuntMinnie.com follows:
Quoted from http://www.auntminnie.com/index.asp?Sec=sup&Sub=imc&Pag=dis&ItemId=86437&wf=3193&d=1:
Legislation has been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives that would close a loophole in federal law that enables physicians to self-refer patients for imaging studies as long as the exams are performed in their own offices.
The so-called Stark law in-office loophole has long vexed radiology advocates who see it as a way for nonradiologist physicians to skirt the law's provisions banning physicians from referring patients to entities in which they have a financial interest. Imaging proponents believe physician self-referral is driving higher imaging utilization and, thus, higher healthcare costs.
But the Stark law loophole would be closed under legislation introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), whose Integrity in Medicare Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Act of 2009 (HR 2962) would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to exclude certain advanced diagnostic imaging services from the in-office ancillary services exception to the Stark laws.
The laws would ban in-office self-referral of modalities such as MRI, CT, and PET, but would not cover x-ray, ultrasound, and fluoroscopy studies. It would also not cover imaging services performed for the purposes of radiation therapy treatment planning or in conjunction with an interventional radiology procedure. In addition, it would not cover nuclear medicine exams apart from PET.
The bill currently has no co-sponsors. It has been referred to both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.