Elisabeth Rosenthal has continued her series on healthcare costs, “Paying Til It Hurts,” in the New York Times (12/16, Rosenthal), focusing this time on echo. The article labels echo as a “stable technology that hasn’t changed much in decades” and plagued by a healthcare pricing system that has wide price disparities. Some ASE members were interviewed during her research and Dr. David Wiener, chairman of the Advocacy Committee of ASE, is quoted in the article, which states in part: “He attributed the variations to multiple factors, including how many hospitals and doctors perform the procedure, state regulations and the need to subsidize poorly reimbursed services.” Needless to say, many of the things cited in the article are inaccurate (echo has had major advancements in the past 20 years with color, Doppler, STI, strain, 3-D, TEE, stress, etc.) and/or misleading (cardiologists do not order most echo testing, for instance) and ASE has written a response that can be viewed on Connect@ASE to the NYT and encourages our members to also reach out and respond.
Happy Holidays! ASE would like to give you a gift to thank you for your membership. Beginning December 10, you will receive a free tote bag with the purchase of any product from ASE MarketPlace. Start shopping today at www.asemarketplace.com.
Echocardiography in children is the focus topic of the December issue of JASE, now online. The lead article is “ACC/AAP/AHA/ASE/HRS/SCAI/SCCT/SCMR/SOPE 2014 Appropriate Use Criteria for Initial Transthoracic Echocardiography in Outpatient Pediatric Cardiology: A Report of the American College of Cardiology Appropriate Use Criteria Task Force, et al.” Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) have been established for echocardiography in adult patients but this is the first such document published for echocardiography in pediatric patients. As noted in the article’s introduction, “This set of AUC should be useful not only for pediatric cardiologists, but also for general pediatricians and family practitioners, who are frequently the first clinicians to consider the need for this modality.”
Read release here.
ASE is pleased to announce the creation of a much needed new interventional transesophageal echocardiography code for use beginning in 2015! This code, 93355, is intended to be used to report TEE services during an interventional procedure. This code includes guidance, real-time image acquisition, documentation and interpretation during transcatheter intracardic procedures.
For well over a year ASE has dedicated significant resources including numerous volunteers who have worked to establish this essential new interventional TEE code. This code more accurately reflects the time and effort of the echocardiographer during these procedures. Working with several other societies, ASE was able to collect and present compelling evidence that the existing codes do not actually reflect the physician work, time and intensity required during an interventional procedure and show that new code was needed.
The new code language can be found in the 2015 CPT Book the AMA has just released. The final obstacle is to have CMS release appropriate valuations in the 2015 final Medicare fee schedule this November. While there is no guarantee that CMS will accept the RUC’s recommendations, this is still a very positive step in ensuring our members’ work is properly coded.
ASE is committed to advocating to create an environment for excellence in the quality and practice of cardiovascular ultrasound. This effort is just one example of ASE ensuring your voice is heard and that your patients have access to the care they need.
Read release here.
GE Healthcare receives FDA approval to manufacture OptisonTM in-house, ensuring more consistent supply to the market. Read the full press release here.