Medicare Rule May Discourage Brain CTs in ED
"That will start to influence physicians' thinking, 'Well, should I even go down this road and get this CT because I'm just going to get in trouble?'
These are the physicians who are going to miss a diagnosis."
Solomon says some doctors will order the CT, and if it's clear, continue with a lumbar puncture that will qualify the case for the reporting exclusion. And that will get them off the hook. However, Solomon foresees a problem with this approach too.
"The patient will say 'No thanks. Nobody's going to stick a needle in my spine.' Well, then the physician will say, 'Now what?' " he said.
The whole episode has left Solomon somewhat bitter.
"You look at the way CMS approaches quality and value, you can see that their focus really is on cost," he says. "Their focus really is in finding things they don't have to pay for."
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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