WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2018, bipartisan legislation to increase access to osteoporosis screening, while lowering the costs and consequences resulting from a lack of diagnosis.
“Osteoporosis threatens the health of millions of women, increasing the chance of fracture and reducing their quality of life,” said Senator Cardin. “This bill will provide Medicare beneficiaries with access to accurate and effective testing, will lead to improved diagnosis and treatment for those with osteoporosis, and will significantly reduce health care costs.”
“The public health risk of osteoporosis cannot be understated. Today, approximately 54 million Americans either have osteoporosis or they are at an increased risk for osteoporosis due to low bone mass,” said Senator Collins, the Chairman of the Aging Committee. “Early diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis are proven to dramatically reduce fracture rates. Our legislation tackles a proven barrier to proper screening by restoring reimbursement levels under Medicare Part B for bone mass measurements.”
Over the past decade, Medicare reimbursement for osteoporosis screening has greatly declined from $140 in 2007 to $42 in 2018. As a result of reduced screening due to declining reimbursements, it is estimated that more than 40,000 additional hip fractures occur each year, resulting in nearly 10,000 additional hip-fracture deaths. In addition, the National Osteoporosis Foundation has found that declining reimbursement rates have created a 26 percent decline in physicians performing DXA tests since 2008, resulting in a corresponding 22 percent decline in diagnoses since 2009.
The Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2018 restores reimbursement for Medicare Part B for bone mass measurement using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) services to 70 percent of 2006 levels.
This legislation is endorsed by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and more than forty additional national medical societies and patient advocate organizations.
Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Angus King (I-ME) are cosponsors of this bill.