Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

Radiologists Should Worry About Medical Device Tax, Too

Published on the Jan. 10, 2013, DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

On January 1, the long-debated and much-opposed medical device tax went into effect. To date, medical device manufacturers have clearly stated their opposition, but industry leaders portend practicing radiologists also have reason to be concerned.

Barely a week old, this measure levies a 2.3 percent tax on all medical devices. The law calls for manufacturers to pay for the tax added to the sale price of the device, but many worry the cost will not only trickle down to providers, but will also, ultimately, stymy the progression of patient care by hindering research and development efforts.

“As radiologists, most of us chose the specialty because it’s a field that incentivizes technological innovation that can make enormous differences in patient care,” said Geraldine McGinty, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Economics Commission. “Payment or health care policies that would, in any way, negatively impact innovation are things that make us feel uncomfortable.”

The device tax will inevitably impact practitioners’ bottom lines, she said. The actual dollar amount is yet unknown, but manufacturers will be forced to pass some of the tax increase on to their customers. The price hike will likely be an unwelcome addition to existing imaging reimbursement cuts and the difficulties radiologists already face with collecting payments from patients. Equipment purchasing decisions could become more complicated or could be postponed, she said.

In addition to individual monetary concerns, radiologists should also worry about what the medical device tax could mean for their ability to provide the most up-to-date patient care. According to the Medical Imaging and Technological Alliance (MITA), this initiative is a job-killer because it makes outsourcing jobs overseas more attractive. But research and development efforts will also be a casualty, said MITA Executive Director Gail Rodriguez.

According to a recent MITA survey, 29 percent of manufacturers anticipate slicing into their research and development budgets as a way to cover the anticipated $287 million associated with the device tax. This change could leave providers without new technological innovations for treating patients, MITA said.

To read the remainder of the story at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/content/article/113619/2122393

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January 14, 2013 - Posted by | Healthcare, Politics | , , , , , , , , ,

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