"Urgent Call To Action" For the DXA Bill Cuts Before Congress!!

Pam Flores @phflores Health Guide
  • About six months ago I told you all about the DXA bill before Congress and how we need your help.  The bill, if passed, would allow 50% cuts-backs on Medicare's coverage of this preventative service for osteoporosis, and further cuts by the year 2010.  We need to prevent this from happening and all you need to do to help with this cause, is send an email to your local Congress person showing your support.  The link for this email is below and all you have to do is fill in your information and use the International Society of Clinical Densitometries (ISCD's) pre-written email to send to the necessary representatives in your area.  If you'd like to write your own letter, you can do that as well by including your thoughts in the form instead of the pre-written draft that is available.

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    DXA is the gold standard for osteoporosis diagnosis, and the only tool we have for the many that need to have this test.  Even so, it is still an underused diagnostic tool, and if the cut-backs go through it will be even more so.  Many will not be able to afford the cost if the cuts are approved.  So please take 5 minutes to fill out the email form showing your support.  If you aren't a Medicare recipient, this can still affect you!


    Medicare is the largest insurer in our country and influences many other private insurers to follow suit with cut-backs. Since we're at a crossroads with the economy and health care in general, we need to keep in place the necessary funding for testing we currently have, without taking any backwards steps that will have a tremendous affect on most that need access to this very important screening tool. We also don't want the private insurance companies to implement cuts for osteoporosis testing at a time when it would be so easy to do so.


    The United States Senate began debating its Health Care Reform bill this week.  This legislation includes a provision that would provide some relief from the DXA cuts. Senators need to continue to hear from us on this important issue.  Our last "Call to Action" generated over 2000 emails to members of the House and Senate and we can't stop now (ISCD Call to Action Letter 2009).

     

    Letter from the ISCD to Congress on the DXA Bill:


    Funding for DXA, the standard of care for treating osteoporosis, is an important element within H.R.3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  As debate continues on this important legislation, I want to be sure the DXA provision is included in the final bill enacted by this Congress.

     

    As you know, DXA is a key preventive test for osteoporosis that saves lives and money. With hospitalization rates for patients admitted with osteoporotic fractures increasing dramatically over the past decade, the cost to the Medicare system is astronomical and will continue to rise.

     

    In fact, a 2008 study by Kaiser in Southern California demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of DXA testing.   By increasing DXA testing and treatment over a 5-year period (2002-2006) a 37% reduction in hip fractures occurred.  Within the Kaiser system the savings amounted to over $30 million dollars in 2006 alone.  The cost to the Medicare budget for the payment of unnecessary hip fractures, hospitalizations and nursing home admissions can be reduced greatly by the increased utilization of DXA.

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    Even though DXA is the best test available to diagnose and treat osteoporosis, reimbursement for this test was slashed by 50% since 2006 and is scheduled to be cut again in 2010. The current rate of $72 does not cover the cost of providing the service.   Many physicians have been forced to discontinue providing this service and more will follow in their footsteps unless the cuts are reversed.

     

    DXA is already included in H.R. 3590-we need your help to make sure it stays there.   Thank you for your anticipated support and all of the work you do to improve the health and well being of your constituents (ISCD Letter to Congress 2009).

     

    Please won't you take a moment of your time to help save this testing and its cost to many who need this valuable tool?  If all of our members responded, we could easily go over the 2,000 emails the ISCD received on the last call to action, and this one is the FINAL CALL. 

     

    Thank you in advance for your time and concern for such an important cause.



     

Published On: December 14, 2009