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Up to one third of U.S. CT scanners will have to be replaced by 2016 in order to avoid a 5 percent Medicare penalty, the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) estimates.

That’s because of a provision included in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014—the so-called “doc fix” bill that prevented a 24 percent Medicare pay cut for doctors. It mandates a 5 percent reduction in the CT technical component for scans done with noncompliant technology in 2016 and a 15 percent reduction thereafter. The bill was signed into law early this month.

MITA is a division of the National Electrical Manufacturers Assocation, which developed the law’s mandated standard, XR-29-20013. The standard is designed to reduce radiation dosage. Radiology Business Journal quoted Gail Rodriguez, PhD, MITA’s executive director, discussing the standard’s development:

We’ve been working with the FDA, physicists, physicians, the entire industry, for a long time to try to get at how to reduce dose as much as possible. For most imaging folks, this is one logical step in a series of steps we’ve tried to take over the last four years.

Radiation dosage from imaging is certainly a topic of concern. Most currently installed scanners either meet the standard or can easily meet it with a software upgrade, Dr. Rodriguez said.

And what of the one third that she estimates won’t make the grade? “These are not burdensome requirements: Dose Check, alarm systems, that sort of thing,” she said. “Only the very old equipment will have difficulty or be unable to be upgraded. It’s really just the old, antiquated equipment that has to go.”

And once it goes, it will be replaced by new equipment, made by members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

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