Independent Diagnostic Testing Facilities (IDTF’s) have been in existence since 1998. They are located all over the country, however patients may not know what makes them different than a physician’s office.

While Independent Diagnostic Testing Facilities may be owned by physicians, they are independent of a physician office or hospital. Typically the biggest difference is the enrollment and billing requirements. Freestanding imaging centers may also be required by Medicare to enroll as an IDTF. The purpose of an IDTF is to provide diagnostic tests, not to directly use tests to treat patients. A physician group that provides radiology services and treatment, and rarely bills for interpretations or technical aspects of diagnostics tests would not qualify as an IDTF.

There are however a number of circumstances where an imaging facility may be required to enroll as an IDTF:

Physician Office or group: This is typically required by Medicare carriers when physician’s offices include specialties outside of radiology if a substantial portion of the business model is to perform diagnostic tests on Medicare patients who are not patients of the medical practice.

Hospitals:  Hospitals are typical, with the exception of when the facility providing the diagnostic tests via the hospital is billing under it’s own entity, and not the hospitals.

Ambulatory Surgery Centers:  Ambulatory Surgery Centers are not allowed to bill for diagnostic tests performed during regularly scheduled hours of operations. However, they may be required to have a separate IDTF if a physician group owns the Ambulatory Surgery Center and performs diagnostic tests at the same site when the ASC is not in their normal hours of operation.

To become an IDTF facility the following qualifications and requirements must be met:

  • Must provide a list of all physicians who will provide diagnostic test interpretations
  • Must employ one or more supervisory physicians who are proficient at the procedures performed by the IDTF
  • Must disclose any procedure codes that are not supervised by a physician
  • An unannounced mandatory site visit is required prior to enrollment
  • All technologists are required to have a state license or certification by a national credentialing body at the time of the IDTF’s enrollment

IDTF’s will continue to grow, we are seeing more and more mobile IDTF’s all the time. Patients should be aware of the differences between the two entities and their respective interests.

American College of Radiology