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Appropriate Use Criteria Program 

The Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) of 2014, Section 218(b), amended Section 1834(q) to establish the Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) Program to increase the use of AUC for advanced diagnostic imaging services provided to Medicare beneficiaries. 

Under this program, an AUC consult prior to ordering advanced diagnostic imaging (CT, MR, Nuclear Medicine and PET) for Medicare patients, must be documented via a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) qualified clinical decision support mechanism (qCDSM). 


A Clinical Decision Support Mechanism (CDSM) is an interactive, electronic tool for use by clinicians that communicates appropriate use criteria (AUC) information to the user and assists them in making the most appropriate treatment decision for a patient’s specific clinical condition. They may be modules within or available through certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT).

Without a documented consult, rendering providers (both facilities and radiologists) will not receive Medicare payment for the procedure. 

AUC for Advanced Diagnostic Imaging

Ordering providers are required to consult AUC for all Medicare Part B Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Services. Consultation is required in all applicable settings as outlined by CMS. These include physician offices, hospital outpatient departments (including emergency departments), ambulatory surgical centers, and independent diagnostic testing facilities.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the payment penalty phase of the appropriate use criteria (AUC) consultation mandate will not begin on Jan. 1, 2023 as previously annouced. At this time, CMS is unable to forecast when the payment penalty phase will begin.

Lineage Consulting can help your practice understand regulation guidelines, and ensure you are up-to-date with the latest program deadlines. 


Doctor Analyzing X-Rays


For more information on how Lineage Consulting can help your practice become compliant with PAMA standards and guidelines, please contact us today! 

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