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Health plans target advanced imaging services: cost, quality and safety concerns prompt renewed oversight.


Faced with double-digit annual increases in the use of advanced imaging services, health plans are stepping up efforts to manage imaging utilization, maintain imaging quality and ensure patient safety, according to findings from the Center for Studying Health System Change's (HSC) 2007 site visits to 12 nationally representative metropolitan communities. Plan strategies range from informing physicians about evidence-based imaging guidelines to requiring prior authorization of services to credentialing physicians and imaging equipment. Mindful of the physician backlash against managed care in the 1990s, plans are instituting requirements they perceive to be less intrusive and burdensome for physicians. Some physicians, however, view the requirements as administratively onerous and obstacles to patient care. Depending on the experience with imaging, plans may expand utilization management to other services with rapid volume increases.

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