(516) 222-1150 | 677 Broadway, 10th Floor, Albany, NY 12207

The New York State
Radiological Society, Inc.

New York State Chapter of the American College of Radiology

NYSRS Statement on Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Contact Us

NYSRS Statement on Digital Breast Tomosynthesis



NYSRS Statement on Digital Breast Tomosynthesis

The New York State Radiological Society (NYSRS) is the New York State chapter of the American College of Radiology (ACR) and represents 1523 diagnostic radiologist and radiation oncologists practicing in NY state. The NYSRS is committed to reducing breast cancer mortality by optimizing women’s access to effective breast cancer screening. Regular mammography is the mainstay of breast cancer screening, with ample data to support its efficacy in reducing breast cancer deaths [1]. Full-field digital mammography became widely utilized over the last decade as studies showed its improved accuracy over traditional film-screen mammography [2].

Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is an application of digital mammography that allows for 3-dimensional (3-D) imaging of the breast. Multiple studies performed over the last three years have shown that it has improved accuracy over full-field digital mammography, demonstrating both an increased cancer detection rate and a decrease in false positive results; that is, results that lead to additional testing in women who do not have breast cancer[3-11]. Thus, DBT has the potential to decrease both breast cancer mortality and the anxiety and costs associated with known limitations of traditional 2-dimensional (2-D) mammography.

Widespread availability of DBT will facilitate research assessing long term clinical outcomes and identification of subgroups of women most likely to benefit from the examinations. As with any medical examination, availability is greatly impacted by reimbursement for the service provided. Interoperability among different DBT and Radiology Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) vendors is another essential factor for optimizing patient access. In the state of NY, there are currently over 80 sites that have implemented DBT.

The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved DBT in 2011 for the same indications as traditional 2-D mammography including breast cancer screening, diagnosis, and intervention. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently included payment codes and reimbursement rate values for DBT in its final 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) and will be covering DBT as of January 1, 2015. Along with the ACR, the NYSRS supports CMS’s decision and strongly urges private insurers to cover beneficiaries for DBT as a medically necessary alternative and supplement to 2-D mammography for screening and diagnosis of breast cancer and to ultimately facilitate women’s access to these important exams.

  1. Feig, S.A., Current status of screening mammography. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am, 2002. 29(1): p. 123-36.
  2. Pisano, E.D., et al., Diagnostic Performance of Digital versus Film Mammography for Breast-Cancer Screening. New England Journal of Medicine, 2005. 353(17): p. 1773-1783.
  3. Skaane, P., et al., Comparison of digital mammography alone and digital mammography plus tomosynthesis in a population-based screening program. Radiology, 2013. 267(1): p. 47-56.
  4. Ciatto, S., et al., Integration of 3D digital mammography with tomosynthesis for population breast-cancer screening (STORM): a prospective comparison study. Lancet Oncol, 2013. 14(7): p. 583-9.
  5. Haas, B.M., et al., Comparison of tomosynthesis plus digital mammography and digital mammography alone for breast cancer screening. Radiology, 2013. 269(3): p. 694-700.
  6. Rose, S.L., et al., Implementation of breast tomosynthesis in a routine screening practice: an observational study. AJR Am J Roentgenol, 2013. 200(6): p. 1401-8.
  7. Friedewald, S.M., et al., Breast cancer screening using tomosynthesis in combination with digital mammography. JAMA, 2014. 311(24): p. 2499-507.
  8. Greenberg, J.S., et al., Clinical performance metrics of 3D digital breast tomosynthesis compared with 2D digital mammography for breast cancer screening in community practice. AJR Am J Roentgenol, 2014. 203(3): p. 687-93.
  9. Lourenco, A.P., et al., Changes in Recall Type and Patient Treatment Following Implementation of Screening Digital Breast Tomosynthesis. Radiology, 2014: p. 140317.
  10. Lee, C.I., et al., Comparative Effectiveness of Combined Digital Mammography and Tomosynthesis Screening for Women with Dense Breasts. Radiology, 2014: p. 141237.
  11. McCarthy, A.M., et al., Screening outcomes following implementation of digital breast tomosynthesis in a general-population screening program. J Natl Cancer Inst, 2014. 106(11).

Past-President receives honorary recognition plaque

Past to New PresidentPast-President Victor Scarmato, MD, FACR receives honorary recognition plaque from in-coming President S. Richard Cavoli, MD

October 2014 All Members Meeting

Dr. McGintyGeraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, Chair of the Economics Committee speaks at the NYSRS October 2014 All Members meeting about Imaging 3.0 and the upcoming CMS proposed rules.


RADPAC 2014 Outstanding Group Practices in New York State

Hudson Valley Radiologists, PC

Poughkeepsie, NY
Windsong Radiology Group

Williamsville, NY

 ACR AMCLC 2014 Chapter Recognition Award
Government Relations



George Autz, MD FACR-Breast Imaging Committee

To All Members,

New York State Department of Health requires that all patients having a screening mammogram study have a prescription requesting such exam. This requirement comes from regulation that requires a prescription for ordering the application of radiation from radiation equipment to a patient:

16.19 Limitations on application of radiation to humans.9

(a) Diagnostic x-ray equipment. No person other than a professional practitioner, as defined in section 16.2(a)(85) of this part; a physician’s assistant working under the authority of a physician in accordance with Article 37 of the Public Health Law; or, a certified nurse practitioner working in accordance with Article 139 of the Education Law, within a practice agreement with a physician, or under the authority of a Medical Director or Medical Board in an Article 28 facility, shall direct or order the application of radiation from radiation equipment, as defined in section 16.2(a)(97) of this Part to a human being… Such direction or order to apply, or application of, radiation shall be in the course of the practitioner’s professional practice and shall comply with the applicable provisions of Part 89 of this Title and article 35 of the Public Health Law of the State of New York.

This includes self-referral patients and self-requesting patients. New York State regulations supersede MQSA regulations which do not require a prescription. Self-referred patients are those who come for mammography but have no health care provider, who decline a health care provider, or for whom the provider declines responsibility. Self-requesting patients are those who come for mammography, but are able to name a health care provider (or accept a health care provider offered by the facility) who accepts responsibility for that patient’s clinical breast care. If the health care provider declines to accept the mammography report from the facility, then those patients should be treated as self-referred.

Facilities that want to perform screening mammography on self referred patients need to apply to the Department of Health and comply with the regulations listed under section 16.22 of Part 16 of the Public Health Law, using the following link: http://www.nyhealth.gov/environmental/radiological/radon/radioactive_material_licensing/docs/part16.pdf

Facilities performing screening mammography on self referral patients still require a prescription, which must be written by a qualified person as defined in section 16.19 above. Radiologists may write the prescription for these patients. Any further questions may be addressed to me at the e-mail address below.


George Autz, MD
Chair, Mammography Committee
New York State Radiological Society


Upcoming Events

Past Events

Spring All Members Meeting

This will be a VIRTUAL MEETING – details to follow