Between 2004 and 2010, utilization of advanced medical imaging services (CT and MRI) increased by 80 percent for self-referred services, compared with 12 percent for non-self-referred services, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

GAO, a congressional watchdog agency, found that providers’ referrals substantially increased the year after they acquired imaging equipment and began to self-refer. “Providers that began self-referring in 2009--referred to as switchers--increased MRI and CT referrals on average by about 67 percent in 2010 compared to 2008,” according to the report.

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