In the absence of data on current or likely patterns of use of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, use of computed tomography (CT) at one institution in 1981 and 1984 was analyzed to provide data relevant to current federal deliberations regarding Medicare payment for inpatient MR imaging. Between 1981 and 1984 inpatient CT utilization increased 59%, primarily due to a 265% increase in body CT. In 1984 inpatients who underwent at least one CT procedure were as likely to undergo more than one procedure as to undergo only one. CT procedures were performed in a high proportion of diagnosis-related groups (DRGs), with more than one-half of head CT procedures performed in nonneurologic DRGs. Given the similarities between clinical applications of CT and MR imaging, these findings regarding CT utilization have the following implications: (a) a delay in recalibration of DRG payment rates may not take account of expected growth in utilization of MR imaging, (b) a DRG 'add-on' for MR imaging should reflect the likelihood that more than one MR imaging procedure will be performed in many hospitalizations, and (c) adjustments in DRG payments for MR imaging should not be limited to the 35 neurologic DRGs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging