Vitami.n C Lowers Bloo.d Pressur.e
Heidelberg, 12 November 2008
Osteoporosis care at risk in the United States
Cuts to Medicare
reimbursement of DXA undermine efforts to properly diagnose and treat
osteoporosis and diminish quality of patient care
According to a paper published in the November issue of the Springer journal
Medicare reimbursement for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) has
been cut to levels substantially below the cost to perform the
procedure. As a result, many physicians and clinics around the country
are likely to discontinue this critical health service ? greatly
limiting the public’s access to the test and jeopardizing those at risk
for a fracture.
The reimbursement cuts run contrary to existing
federal initiatives already in place to increase fracture prevention
efforts and improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of
The article shows that DXA is a key tool in
identifying those at risk for osteoporosis and helping those with the
disease monitor their bone health. It is a recognized tool for
preventing and reducing costly fractures, which account for $18 billion
in national healthcare costs and are projected to increase by 50
percent over the next two decades, reaching $25.3 billion in 2025.
authors of the article, E.M. Lewiecki, S. Baim and E.S. Siris, stated
their support for “…federal efforts to contain healthcare costs and
eliminate unnecessary medical services.” However, with the Medicare
cuts in reimbursement, “fewer patients at high risk for fracture will
be identified and fewer patients will be treated. As a result, there
will be more osteoporotic fractures.”
The article cites a recent
study completed by The Lewin Group, which found that restoring DXA
reimbursement to the 2006 levels would save the Medicare program $1.14
billion over five years due to the reduced number of osteoporotic
Osteoporosis now causes an estimated 2 million
fractures each year and often results in immobility, pain, placement in
a nursing home, isolation and other health problems—conditions and
circumstances that could largely be prevented through proper bone
density testing and diagnosis.
Lewiecki EM, Baim S, Siris ES (2008) Osteoporosis care at risk in the United States.
Osteoporosis International. DOI 10.1007/s00198-008-0716-x
The full-text article is available to journalists as a pdf.