Offering in-house Cardiac PET imaging to your patients adds a new modality to your imaging toolbox. This modality can expand your services by offering another option for diagnostic imaging while potentially providing an additional revenue stream.
If you’re thinking of adding Cardiac PET, it’s important to consider how the new modality will fit with your current imaging offerings. Think about how it could affect the level of service you provide and what its impact might be on your bottom line. Let’s take a look at where Cardiac PET fits in your current imaging offerings:
Top-Level and Bottom-Line Considerations
The addition of Cardiac PET imaging may not provide a clear net gain for your facility. Most practices will end up replacing some of their current SPECT imaging volume with PET because it may be a more appropriate choice. With the addition of PET, you can expect the volume to decline in one modality and rise in the other, at least in the short term.
If your practice is currently overbooked or your staff is overworked, Cardiac PET could offer relief and if your monthly volumes are sustainably high enough, this modality may positively affect your bottom line. However, if your current imaging is underutilized, it could worsen your situation.
As you make your decision, you’ll need to account for the new capabilities that Cardiac PET can offer. Think through when and why you would offer PET vs. SPECT and the additional flexibility it can provide you with patient care. You must also fully understand the reimbursement criteria of all of your payers and plans.
Establishing clear guidelines prior to the arrival of the camera is the best way to eliminate confusion. It will also help you utilize the imager in the most effective and efficient manner.
On the positive side, a Cardiac PET imager can provide you with the capability to offer additional tests and enter into new markets. Many of the cameras come with the option of CT, so you might consider adding calcium scoring or coronary vessel imaging to your offerings.
Like Attenuation Correction SPECT, PET imaging has the ability to reduce the number of false positives and can ultimately lower the number of unnecessary cardiac catheterizations. It will, however, impact the activity of your cath lab, which needs to be factored into your plan.
With the addition of Cardiac PET, payers may also view your practice differently. PET MPI scans have a high reimbursement, which means your facility will be submitting a higher claim. This may result in greater scrutiny across all of your tests.
Lastly, when looking at PET MPI, it’s important to determine where it’s going to physically fit in your practice. PET imagers are larger than Echo, EKGs or even SPECT cameras and the radiopharmaceuticals have specific space requirements. You’ll need to identify a 15’x20’ – 20’x30’ room to accommodate a PET camera.
Aiming for Balance
The ultimate goal for any physician is to be able to order the right test, for the right patient, at the right time. Cardiac PET is a valuable tool that can help you provide the best care for your patients and help you achieve that goal.
As you evaluate the camera, it’s important to look at the entire picture. The camera price and its ongoing costs are major drivers, but those alone can’t determine your decision. It’s critical to evaluate how all of your diagnostic imaging services will work together after the initial purchase.