The Alliance for Integrity in Medicare (AIM)— a broad coalition of medical specialty, laboratory, radiation oncology, and medical imaging groups committed to ending the practice of inappropriate physician self-referral – applauds the strong leadership of U.S. Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA14) as demonstrated through the introduction of The Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act of 2013.
AIM supports this legislation, which addresses the ongoing misapplication of the in-office ancillary office exception (IOAS) to the physician self-referral law for advanced diagnostic imaging, anatomic pathology, physical therapy, and radiation therapy services. Narrowing the IOAS exception to exclude the aforementioned services, will improve patient care and coordination, while preserving valuable Medicare resources and the integrity of the program overall.
The Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act of 2013 reflects the findings of the Government Accountability Office, the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and peer-reviewed, published academic studies, as well as recommendations from several bipartisan groups such as the Moment of Truth Project and the Bipartisan Policy Group. All of these efforts point to the need to narrow the IOAS exception.
It is important to note that if the legislation is enacted, physicians will continue to be able to order x-rays and routine clinical laboratory tests in order to diagnose and treat patients during office visits. Moreover, the ability of truly collaborative and integrated multi-specialty group practices to operate as they do today will be preserved. And with regard to rural areas, access to care would not be limited, as the existing rural exceptions to the self-referral law would be maintained.
Furthermore, reforming the IOAS exception through the passage of The Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act of 2013 will ensure that Medicare patients receive the highest quality and safest health care most appropriate to their needs, and Medicare policy incentives are properly aligned saving billions of dollars, which is in the best interests of beneficiaries, providers, and our nation’s health system overall.
We deeply thank Representative Speier for her continued and stalwart leadership on IOAS reform, which began during her tenure in the California Assembly.
American Clinical Laboratory Association
American College of Radiology
American Physical Th erapy Association
American Society for Clinical Pathology
American Society for Radiation Oncology
Association for Quality Imaging
College of American Pathologists
Radiology Business Management Association