Urgent care operators who have adopted digital radiography (DR) will tell you it’s cheaper to maintain, less cumbersome to operate, and overall just more efficient to use than old-school analog x-ray systems. Now you can add Medicare to DR’s proponents—and they’re putting your money where their mouth is. Come 2017, Medicare will start reducing payments for exams performed on analog x-ray systems by 20%. Starting in 2018, urgent care centers using computed radiography (CR) will also see their reimbursements go down by 7% over the next 5 years if they don’t switch to DR. After 5 years, reimbursements will go down 10% for centers using CR. Teleradiology Associates, which concentrates its business on the urgent care setting, points out in a blog post on its website that the implications of the incoming rule go beyond treatment of Medicare members; occupational medicine providers should bear in mind that it’s typical for commercial and workers’ compensation payers to follow the Medicare fee schedule and payment methodology.
Urgent Care Centers: Switch to Digital Radiography or Lose Money