July 15, 2019
Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) and Rep. Bobby L. Rush (IL-01) along with Rep. George Holding (NC-02) introduced the bipartisan Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act of 2019. The bill would expand patient access to highly-targeted, precision diagnostics that result in more accurate diagnoses and treatment of diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, so patients can get the right treatment faster. The bill does this by ensuring adequate Medicare reimbursement to hospitals for procedures that use radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose, evaluate, and treat these conditions as well as certain cancers. Radiopharmaceuticals are small amounts of radioactive material used to capture molecular-level images of what is happening in a patient’s body. The result of more accurate diagnoses is faster treatment, higher quality care, and lower costs for patients and taxpayers.
The bill is budget neutral; this reimbursement change does not cost any taxpayer money.
“In San Diego and across the country, health care innovation has allowed doctors to diagnose, monitor, and treat some of the most aggressive and least understood diseases. This bill will provide doctors with additional resources to diagnose Alzheimer’s, cancer, brain disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and other less-understood diseases. I thank my colleagues Rep. Rush and Rep. Holding for their commitment to providing better health care to Americans,” said Rep. Peters.
“Diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals help increase the accuracy of diagnoses for hard-to-identify diseases, including prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease, all of which can be life-changing, if not deadly, if caught too late. It is critical that patients have access to the health services they need to ensure they receive the right treatment at the right time,” said Rep. Rush. “In my home state of Illinois, many hospitals have chosen, and are continuing to choose, not to provide access to diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals because Medicare reimbursement rates are lower than the cost to perform the test. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act to fix this discrepancy and ensure that those at-risk of these deadly diseases have access to the best healthcare technology available.”
“This targeted measure will help ensure patients receive an accurate diagnosis and the most effective treatment plan possible,” said Rep. Holding. “It will also foster further innovation in nuclear medicine, which millions of Americans benefit from every year.”