HealthDay News — The number of Medicare patients receiving mammograms increased slightly, but significantly, in the first three years of U.S. health care reform, according to a study published online September 20 in Radiology.

Researchers sought to evaluate the impact of accountable care organizations (ACOs) on use of screening mammography in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. The team reviewed data for women, aged 40 to 69, who had screening mammograms between 2012 and 2014. 

Related Articles

Of 208 ACOs reporting longitudinal outcomes, the researchers found a mean increase of 2.6% over the study period. Improvements were reported by 61.6% of ACOs. Among patients treated under traditional fee-for-service programs, mammography levels stayed the same or decreased during the same time period.

“While we weren’t able to look at specific practices to see what these organizations did, a wide variety of strategies have been discussed,” lead author Anand Narayan, MD, PhD, a clinical epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, said in a news release from the Radiological Society of North America. “Many strategies revolve around communications, such as phone calls, letters, group health education sessions, peer counseling, and home visits.”

Full Text