Main Category: Bones / Orthopedics
Also Included In: Medicare / Medicaid / SCHIP
Article Date: 30 May 2011 – 2:00 PDT
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The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) applauds the introduction of legislation in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that will preserve patient access to osteoporosis testing and treatment services under the Medicare program.
The legislation introduced last night, “Preservation of Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2011,” (H.R. 2020, S. 1096) will extend current Medicare payment rates for energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) tests, through 2013. Without congressional action, Medicare payment rates for this service will be reduced by approximately 50% at the beginning of next year. Physicians will be forced to discontinue DXA tests because payment rates will not cover the cost of providing the procedures.
Osteoporosis testing is done by measuring bone density with a DXA machine. Providing a DXA test in the office allows a physician to identify patients at high fracture risk and immediately implement a treatment plan if required. A DXA test is also used to monitor the effectiveness of medical therapy to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Early diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis has been proven to reduce painful and costly fractures.
“The introduction of this legislation demonstrates a strong commitment to disease prevention, improved health outcomes, and reducing growing health care costs,” said Dr. Yehuda Handelsman, AACE President. “AACE calls on Congress to enact this important legislation this year.”
In 2005, osteoporosis was responsible for an estimated two million fractures and $19 billion in costs. By 2025, experts predict that osteoporosis will be responsible for approximately 3 million fractures and $25.3 billion in costs each year, according to National Osteoporosis Foundation.
AACE commends the sponsors of the legislation in the House, Representatives Michael Burgess (R-26th-TX) and Shelley Berkley (D-1st-NV) and the sponsors of the identical Senate bill, Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for their leadership on this issue.
AACE works closely with other interested clinical societies and patient groups on this issue, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Rheumatology, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, International Society for Clinical Densitometry, The Endocrine Society and National Osteoporosis Foundation.
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