As of Jan. 1, 2012, radiology technicians and vendors furnishing the technical components of advanced diagnostic imaging modalities--PET, MRI and CT systems--must be accredited by a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-deemed accreditation body.

Mandated under the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, this accreditation is a new requirement, says Barbara Rubel, senior vice president of marketing and client services at MSN LLC, a Columbus, Ga.-based radiology billing company. Accreditation must be complete before a radiology firm can be paid for exams using the modalities.

During RSNA 2010, Nov. 28-Dec. 3 in Chicago, Rubel will co-present a session that will explain new regulations affecting radiology practices. There is a good understanding in the core radiology field of the accreditation mandate on advanced imaging systems, Rubel says. But she fears that non-radiology practices, such as orthopedic group practices with an MRI machine in the office, may not be aware of this mandate and other new radiology requirements coming soon.

One issue right around the corner is Medicare's new Internet-based provider enrollment system called the Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System, or PECOS. Right now, radiology firms receive a remark code in the explanation of benefits statement when an ordering physician is not enrolled. But come Jan. 3, 2011, if the ordering physician is not in PECOS, then the rendering physician will not be paid. "That's a big deal," Rubel notes.

PECOS in late 2010 still wasn't functioning as it should be, she adds, and there has been debate over whether the Jan. 3 deadline should be pushed back. But for now, it stands and there are plenty of other new government initiatives that Rubel and her colleagues will explain during session AS33, "New Regulations and Their Impact on Radiology Practices," on Nov. 30 at 1:30 p.m.

"We all need to be paying very close attention to the rules and regulations because they're coming up faster and with more ferocity," Rubel cautions. More information is available at rsna.org.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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