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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Volume 9, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 27-32.

The published version is available at JACR. Copyright © Elsevier Inc.


PURPOSE: After the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) took effect in 2007, there was concern that private office-based imaging facilities would close, that advanced imaging would shift to less convenient hospital-based facilities, and that access to advanced imaging might be restricted. The aim of this study was to see if these developments occurred during the years after the DRA.

METHODS: Using Medicare data, outpatient CT, MRI, and nuclear medicine trends before and after the DRA were studied. Procedure volumes performed in private offices and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) were tabulated separately. Volumes were tracked from 2000 to 2006 (before the DRA) and from 2007 to 2009 (after the DRA), and compound annual growth rates were calculated for the two periods.

RESULTS: In all 3 modalities, growth before the DRA was far more rapid than afterward. Compound annual growth rates from 2007 to 2009 in offices and HOPDs were, respectively, +2.1% and +0.5% for CT, -1.1% and +1.0% for MRI, and -1.7% and -2.5% for nuclear medicine. Growth trends in all 3 modalities showed distinct flattening beginning around 2005 to 2006.

CONCLUSIONS: From 2007 to 2009 (after the DRA), there was more rapid CT volume growth in offices than in HOPDs. Concurrently, there was some loss of nuclear medicine volume in both settings, but the loss was less in offices. Thus, in CT and nuclear medicine, offices actually fared better after the DRA than HOPDs. In MRI, HOPDs fared slightly better than offices. It thus seems that there has been no shift away from offices and as yet no loss of access to CT or MRI after the DRA. However, some loss of access to nuclear medicine does seem to have occurred.

DRA effect on outpt volumes face sheet June 2011.doc (27 kB)
Face Sheet

DRA effect on outpt volumes table June 2011.doc (30 kB)
Table 1. Outpatient Medicare Volume of CT, MRI, and Nuclear Medicine in Private Offices and Hospital Outpatient Departments Before and After the Deficit Reduction Act

DRA effect on outpt volumes figures June 2011.doc (90 kB)
Volume Figures

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