Minnesota Representative Introduces Legislation Offering Electronic Guidance and Recommendations for Physicians Ordering Advanced Imaging Services

On December 10, 2013, Minnesota Congressman Erik Paulsen introduced a bill into the House of Representatives that he believes will streamline and enhance the U.S. healthcare delivery system. The bill, entitled the “Diagnostic Imaging Utilization Act of 2013” directs Medicare to develop a system whereby physicians ordering advanced imaging (“AI”) would receive electronic clinical guidance through a Clinical Decision Support (“CDS”) system. While physicians would not be required to accept the recommendations, Representative Paulsen believes that regular reports generated by the system, as well as other guidance provided by Medicare, would discourage overutilization of AI.

At this time, the bill is only in the early stages of consideration and faces a number of hurdles to passage. However, in the event that it becomes law, there are a number of issues that may arise that could affect both ordering physicians and advanced imaging providers. Such issues include the ease of use of the CDS systems, integration of the CDS systems into existing electronic health record (“EHR”) systems, and the CDS systems’ ability to account for the different patients’ individual medical history. Furthermore, while purportedly voluntary, Physicians failing to follow the CDS system’s guidance and recommendations could be subject to questions about the appropriate standard of practice as well as potential new sources of medical malpractice liability. On the other hand, Advanced imaging providers could face declining utilization of their services as ordering physicians change their AI usage practices.

We will continue to monitor this bill and report on any developments in the coming months. If you have questions about this or any related issues, please contact please contact Adrienne Dresevic, Esq., Carey Kalmowitz, Esq., or Clinton Mikel, Esq. at (248) 996-8510, (212) 734-2128 or visit the HLP website.

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