The Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 requires accreditation of physicians, other practitioners and independent diagnostic testing facilities that bill for the technical component of advanced diagnostic imaging tests by January 1, 2012. This sounds like quite some time away but CMS estimates that the average time to become accredited after the provider submits all the necessary application requirements is as much as five months, when only one location is involved. A more complex organization with multiple locations could take longer.

Specifically, physicians and other providers who conduct MRIs, CT scans and nuclear medicine imaging, such as PET scans, must be accredited by the American College of Radiology, Intersocietal Accreditation Commission or The Joint Commission, to continue to bill for the technical component for Medicare beneficiaries. Hospitals are excluded, but physician practices and diagnostic imaging centers must be accredited.