THE ECONOMICS OF HEAD & NECK ULTRASOUND
REIMBURSEMENT
Reimbursement for head and neck ultrasound is attractive, based in part on the general efficacy of ultrasound. There is no other way to obtain real-time, non-invasive imaging information of soft tissue than ultrasound, reflecting the value of ultrasound in the hands of the practitioner.

The appropriate CPT Codes are 76536 - ultrasound of the head and neck, 76942 - guidance of biopsy, or FNA which are billed in conjunction with 10022 FNA.

Reimbursement obviously depends on the patient's carrier, though Medicare generally reimburses Endocrinologists and ENT physcians for ultrasound performed in their office or clinic. PPOs also generally reimburse Endocrinologists and ENT for ultrasound. HMOs vary whether they reimburse Endocrinologists and ENTs.

INVESTMENT ANALYSIS
Nearly every Endocrinologist or ENT physician that has purchased ultrasound has substantiated that it was a good economic decision. A recent cost-focused study concluded that there are significant benefits for both patient and physician by having in-office ultrasound available.

The economics of TOSHIBA ultrasound are compelling, even in the case of very modest utilization.
Generally speaking, utilization as modest as 3 or 4 guided FNAs/month or 8 or 10 scans/month will yield payback of the initial acquisition in less than 2 years. Recall: an investment that pays back in 24 months is one that provides a 50% return on investment. Regarding leases, even light utilization (on the order of 1 or 2 scans per week) easily covers typical monthly lease payment.

Our Toshiba Ultrasound System Investment Calculator (Excel file) below will show cash flow analyses and returns on investment as a function of the utilzation that is entered in.

We also realize that physicians within HMOs may realize a cost savings rather than a revenue increase. Cost savings to HMOs include the savings of a faster and earlier diagnosis, fewer patient visits to realize a diagnosis, likely better patient compliance with testing and likely better patient satisfaction (which may actually factor into additional savings from not losing a patient to another HMO).

TOSHIBA ULTRASOUND SYSTEM INVESTMENT CALCULATOR
Akbar N, et al. Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 2006; 13; 884-888.
 
 
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