A provision in the same federal legislation signed into law in April 2014 to delay Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate cuts and mandate physician consultation of clinical decision support for advanced diagnostic imaging requires health care providers to comply with the NEMA Standard XR-29-2013 for improved computed tomography (CT) radiation safety.

The NEMA Standard XR-29, also known as the MITA SmartDose Standard, includes DICOM-compliant radiation dose structured reporting, dose check features, automatic exposure control and reference adult and pediatric protocols.

Equipment not in compliance by Jan. 1, 2016, will be subject to a five percent /per scan technical component reduction on diagnostic CT procedures billed in physician office and hospital outpatient settings. The reduction will increase to 15 percent Jan. 1, 2017.

If a facility bills for both inpatient and outpatient CT scans on the same scanner, the reduction only applies to those scans billed as outpatient procedures. The MITA SmartDose policy does not affect scans billed under the hospital inpatient setting or for interventional radiology procedures.

With these specifics in mind, please contact your equipment manufacturer for more information on if your machine complies with the MITA Smart Dose Standard or to find out more information on bringing your CT equipment into compliance with this new standard.