Bone density equipment has been trending downward in recent years. Can the modality still be economically viable for its users? We think so.
A Steady Decline
Over the last several years bone density reimbursements have fallen sharply to nearly half of what they once were (approximately $50 per scan in the early 2000s). Because of this decline many US healthcare providers have been selling off their bone density equipment in pursuit of other imaging modalities, a move that, ostensibly, is a sound call in the interest of staying in the black.
In spite of this trend, a recent discussion with a former bone density equipment vendor revealed that there are bone density providers who are doing very well (over 500 scans per month) despite the current reimbursement rates. This begs the question, “Why are some providers seeing success with their bone density venture while so many have seen a decline in profitability?”
Management Is Key
Having a steady clientele of post-menopausal patients is necessary to set yourself up for success in bone density, but more importantly, properly managing this clientele is instrumental in generating a strong volume of reimbursements.
Medicare Guidelines suggest that a woman who is post-menopausal (and taking osteoporosis medication), should undergo a bone density scan every year. For women over 65 (who are not on an osteoporosis drug), eligibility for a scan comes up every 2 years. These tests are generally fully reimbursed as a preventative care service.
For post-menopausal women who are covered by commercial insurance policies and have not been diagnosed with osteoporosis, preventative coverage usually pays for a bone density study every 2 years. Post-menopausal women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and are on drug therapy are generally eligible for a bone scan every year.
By monitoring the frequency with which patients are recommended and eligible to undergo a bone unit study and scheduling follow-up calls and appointments accordingly, a bone density provider can increase the likelihood of patient retention. This retention can help insure a volume of scans that negates the decline in reimbursements and allows their bone densitometer to remain a consistent source of revenue.
For More on Bone Density Equipment
If you’re interested in bone density scanners, parts, or accessories, Block Imaging carries a wide inventory of all of it. If more information is what you’re after, we have plenty of that too: