Scope of the EMG Problem

(Why you need EMG Audit)


In recent years, there has been an alarming trend in the field of electrodiagnostic medicine (electromyography and nerve conduction studies or EMG/NCS).  In an attempt to increase profitability, numerous individuals have seized the opportunity to perform this very important procedure without the appropriate training or equipment.

The result has been disastrous.  Billions of dollars are wasted and patients are labelled with an inaccurate diagnosis.  As a result, thousands of patients receive surgery they do not need every day in the United States.  Others suffer because they did not receive the treatment they required.  Although widely-accepted standards exist, there is very little enforcement of these extremely reasonable guidelines.  To further complicate the matter, evaluation of these medical reports requires detailed knowledge of nerve and muscle disease and the associated testing technology.

Although most insurance companies clearly state that these procedures should be performed by a neurologist or a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, (physiatrist), approximately 25% of these tests are done by other types of doctors.  Of even greater concern is the growing number of non-physicians who perform and bill for this procedure.

Although these reports are often signed by a physician, this physician may be in a different location or uninvolved.  Numerous organizations have sprouted across the nation to exploit the opportunity to profit from fraudulent or poor quality testing.  Some allow non-physician technicians to perform nerve conduction studies.  Often these technicians work without physician supervision.

Unlike an EKG or X-ray, these studies require that the physician evaluate each patient onsite.  Reading the reports at a later time is unacceptable and is clearly bad for the patient since the results are often useless.

The American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine has adopted proper guidelines for the performance of this test.

Additionally, they have adopted educational requirements for physicians who perform this study.

In addition to inadequate supervision, the wrong type of equipment is often employed to perform this test.  Numerous devices and gadgets are available in the marketplace which allow for a variety of tests, and many of these devices do not meet standards.  The net cost of a properly performed EMG and nerve conduction study is far less than an improperly performed study.   

It is estimated that approximately eight million EMGs and nerve conduction studies are performed each year.  Of these studies, it is estimated that two million are performed improperly.   Every year patients and insurance companies pay more than a billion dollars for useless information. The indirect expense of inaccurate diagnoses and improper surgery also exceeds five billion dollars annually.

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EMG Audit
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