Chester Speed

09 February 2016

Statement from AMGA Regarding Imaging Restrictions in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) in a letter to the White House reiterated its opposition to a policy included in the FY 2017 Budget request that would hinder the ability of multispecialty medical groups and integrated health systems to provide advanced diagnostic imaging services to their patients.  The policy proposed in this budget request would amend the in-office ancillary services (IOAS) exception within the Stark self-referral law and would prohibit medical groups from providing advanced imaging services to their patients.  The proposal runs counter to the intent of the Administration to foster greater integration and care coordination in the healthcare delivery system. 

“Restricting multispecialty medical groups and integrated health systems from providing advanced imaging services is contrary to the Administration’s aim of improving care condition.  This ill-advised effort will lead to less-coordinated care and affect the timeliness of diagnosing our patients,” said Donald W. Fisher, Ph.D., CAE, AMGA’s president and chief executive officer. 

AMGA’s letter noted that prohibiting “physicians practicing in multispecialty medical groups from referring patients for advanced imaging services within their groups would have a devastating impact on some of this country’s leading healthcare organizations, the patients they serve, and the integrated infrastructure that exists to deliver better health care at lower costs.”  The letter added that narrowing the scope of the IOAS deviates from the federal efforts underway to provide incentives for healthcare providers to integrate healthcare delivery.

Removing the exception would force patients to receive these services outside of their usual healthcare system.  These patients also would lose the advantages inherent in receiving care in a medical group setting, such as use of a uniform medical record contained in an electronic medical record system, care management protocols incorporating evidence-based medicine, and receiving care from a team of providers that interact and collaborate with each other.  The proposed policy is particularly problematic for patents in rural areas, who would face delays and possible gaps in care if they could not obtain advanced imagining services in their accustomed multispecialty medical group setting. 

“The President should further his efforts to improve care coordination and integration by rejecting any proposal that restricts patient access to imaging services in multispecialty medical groups.  This budget proposal rightly emphasizes the need to transition toward a healthcare system that rewards value, and we ask the President to reconsider this proposal,” Fisher concluded.

About AMGA
The American Medical Group Association (AMGA) is a 501(c)(6) trade association representing medical groups, health systems, and other organized systems of care, including some of the nation's largest, most prestigious integrated delivery systems. AMGA is a leading voice in advocating for efficient, team-based, and accountable care. AMGA members encompass all models of organized systems of care in the healthcare industry, including: physician-owned, independent group practices, integrated delivery systems, hospital-affiliated medical groups, independent practice associations (IPAs), academic and faculty practices, accountable care organizations, and high-performing health systems. Approximately 177,000 physicians practice in AMGA member organizations, providing healthcare services for 133 million patients (approximately one in three Americans). Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, AMGA is the strategic partner for these organizations, providing a comprehensive package of benefits, including political advocacy, educational and networking programs, publications, benchmarking data services, and financial and operations assistance.