Accreditation Status and Geographic Location of Outpatient Echocardiographic Testing Facilities Among Medicare Beneficiaries: The VALUE-ECHO Study

Scott C. Brown, Kefeng Wang, Chuanhui Dong, Li Yi, Carolina Marinovic Gutierrez, Marco R. Di Tullio, Mary Beth Farrell, Pamela Burgess, Heather L. Gornik, Naomi M. Hamburg, Laurence Needleman, David Orsinelli, Susana Robison, Tatjana Rundek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Accreditation of echocardiographic testing facilities by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) is supported by the American College of Cardiology and American Society of Echocardiography. However, limited information exists on the accreditation status and geographic distribution of echocardiographic facilities in the United States. Our study aimed to identify (1) the proportion of outpatient echocardiography facilities used by Medicare beneficiaries that are IAC accredited, (2) their geographic distribution, and (3) variations in procedure type and volume by accreditation status. Methods: As part of the VALUE-ECHO (Value of Accreditation, Location, and Utilization Evaluation–Echocardiography) study, we examined the proportion of IAC-accredited echocardiographic facilities performing outpatient echocardiography in the 2013 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services outpatient limited data set (100% sample) and their geographic distribution using geocoding in ArcGIS (ESRI, Redlands, CA). Results: Among 4573 outpatient facilities billing Medicare for echocardiographic testing in 2013, 99.6% (n = 4554) were IAC accredited (99.7% in the 50 US states and 86.2% in Puerto Rico). The proportion IAC-accredited echocardiographic facilities varied by region, with 98.7%, 99.9%, 99.9%, 99.5%, and 86.2% of facilities accredited in the Northeast, South, Midwest, West, and Puerto Rico, respectively (P <.01, Fisher exact test). Of all echocardiographic outpatient procedures conducted (n = 1,890,156), 99.8% (n = 1,885,382) were performed in IAC-accredited echocardiographic facilities. Most procedures (90.9%) were transthoracic echocardiograms, of which 99.7% were conducted in IAC-accredited echocardiographic facilities. Conclusions: Almost all outpatient echocardiographic facilities billed by Medicare are IAC accredited. This accreditation rate is substantially higher than previously reported for US outpatient vascular testing facilities (13% IAC accredited). The uniformity of imaging and interpretation protocols from a single accrediting body is important to facilitate optimal cardiovascular care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-402
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Intersocietal Accreditation Commission
  • Medicare
  • accreditation
  • echocardiography (adult)
  • health policy
  • outpatient testing facilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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