By Garry Carneal, JD, RadSite President & CEO

Many of us in the accreditation and imaging fields remember when CMS started to roll out the new accreditation program for advanced diagnostic imaging (ADI) in January of 2012. About 18 months later, RadSite received CMS recognition to accredit ADI suppliers who wanted reimbursement for imaging Medicare beneficiaries, pursuant to the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA). Soon thereafter, RadSite announced its first wave of MIPPA accredited organizations, and we have been busy accrediting other ADI suppliers ever since.

Although many quality experts believe there is tremendous value in the ADI accreditation process, not everyone is as confident. For example, the GAO released a report in April 2014 which, among other findings, noted:

The effect of the accreditation on access—as illustrated by our analysis of the trends in ADI services in the office setting—is unclear in the context of recent policy and payment changes as well as other factors affecting the use of imaging services. In particular, the decline in ADI services occurs amid the implementation in recent years of public and private policies to slow rapid increase in imaging utilization and spending .

Although the report began to evaluate the potential impact of accreditation on patient access to ADI procedures, the GAO did not find any clear trends regarding the impact of accreditation in terms of utilization, or quality for that matter. In large part, the initial findings were inconclusive because the MIPPA ADI accreditation requirement was very new when the GAO analysis took place. We also should note that RadSite was not part of the initial GAO study because of the timing of our CMS recognition. It would be interesting to see what the GAO would find today if a similar study was conducted.

Since RadSite was founded over a decade ago, we have certified or accredited more than 60,000 imaging systems in 25,000 provider locations through several certification and accreditation programs. RadSite can make a difference in the quality and efficiency of imaging in a way that benefits patients through its standards and review process. To benchmark our effectiveness, RadSite has used independent outcome experts in the past and will continue to do so in the future. For a webinar discussion of a RadSite outcome study from a payer’s perspective, click here. As part of RadSite’s mission, we continue to develop our MIPPA Standards and are looking forward to releasing version 3.0 this summer.

With the movement toward value-based purchasing, the imaging community must work with payers and accreditation organizations like RadSite. It is important to promote new initiatives that provide bonus payments to ADI suppliers who can demonstrate clinical or financial efficacy to the patient populations they serve.

Stay tuned as RadSite will take the lead on several of these initiatives as well. If you have any thoughts on the value of ADI accreditation or a related topic, please send us an email at info@radsitequality.com.

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