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ABSTRACT: After a decade of policies encouraging dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) use, Medicare incrementally decreased reimbursement for non-facility-based DXAs, effective 2007. This study quantifies trends in central DXA use before and after the reimbursement change. Using 2000-2009 claims data, we selected subjects aged 50+yr with Medicare supplemental or commercial insurance. The central site DXA test (using CPT codes) rate was calculated within each calendar quarter as the number of patients with a DXA test divided by the total number of patients. Piecewise linear regression was used to quantify change in DXA rates coincident with the 2007 reimbursement reductions. During 2000-2009, slightly over 5 million DXA tests were conducted. Annual rates for females with Medicare steadily increased until 2007, when they leveled off; a similar pattern was observed for the commercially insured. Regression modeling showed that pre-2007 rates increased annually by 0.76% (0.72-0.80) and 0.76% (0.70-0.82) among those with Medicare supplemental and commercial insurance, respectively, and over 2007-2009, rates changed annually by +0.07% (-0.05% to 0.19%) and -0.12% (-0.29% to 0.04%), respectively. During 2007-2009, there were 3.1 (2.4-3.8) and 4.0 (3.1-4.9) fewer tests per 100 person years for females with Medicare supplemental and commercial insurance, respectively, than would have been expected based on the pre-2007 trend. The post-2007 DXA rate was lower than what would have been expected had the observed trend of increasing annual DXA rates from 2000 to 2007 continued unabated beyond the Medicare reimbursement change in 2007. Continuing to provide access to DXA testing for women at increased risk of osteoporosis is important to providing high-quality care for metabolic bone disease in the United States.
Journal of Clinical Densitometry 01/2011; 14(2):100-7. · 1.71 Impact Factor