"Sometimes that will be less imaging but sometimes it will be more imaging," she says. "More often it will be doing the right imaging first, as opposed to doing a test and realizing it didn't get you what you wanted, whereas if you had had the support of a radiologist and the appropriateness criteria that we developed with the ACR, you would have done the right test first."
Even with the reduced reimbursements, McGinty says physicians will continue to offer their interpretations of imaging because they put their patients' health first and foremost.
"We are doctors. I would find it hard to believe that somebody would not do an additional study because of these cuts," she says. "But again there are a lot of stresses on outpatient practices and people are trying their best to provide high quality care and invest in new technology and give jobs to their staff and balance all those things."
It is not clear what costs savings will be generated by these latest reimbursement cuts, but McGinty says this is part of larger and troubling trend to target imaging services.
"It's important to understand that radiology has been subjected to something like 12 cuts since 2006. This is just one additional cut on top of many cuts, so practices are really hurting," she says. "We are looking for incentives to provide higher quality care but there have been a lot of sticks and very few carrots for radiology."