Continuing COVID-19 Updates for Radiologists: Economic and Regulatory Impacts

Geraldine McGinty_MGF1866Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, chair, American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors, contributed this post.

As we continue to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the selfless and impactful work of our radiologists, radiology residents, allied professionals and health care workers during this pandemic.

Two weeks ago, the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) created the COVID-19 Radiology-Specific Resources section on ACR.org. This page is continually updated to offer access to critical, up-to-date clinical information to help you protect yourself, your patients and other providers from COVID-19.

As new laws are offering financial relief to radiology practices impacted by COVID-19, the Economic and Regulatory Updates section has been created specifically for ACR members to help practices gain government funding and stay informed of the latest legislative and regulatory developments. To access this section, simply sign in to your My ACR account.

Learn more about a few of the latest updates below:

ACR Resources
The ACR has provided information and radiology-specific summaries of three major legislative packages which address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides new funding and relief to various drug and supply issues, the economy, access to care by COVID-19 patients, workforce needs, Medicare/Medicaid issues and other coronavirus-related issues.

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 will provide $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides enhanced sick leave, requires payer coverage for no-cost coronavirus testing, expands various food assistance and nutrition programs and provides enhanced unemployment benefits and related state grants.

Radiology-Specific Practice Financial Relief Resources
Radiology practices may be eligible for financial relief through small business loans, delayed employer payroll taxes and other taxpayer protections through the CARES Act and SBA loan programs. The ACR has gathered various materials outlining provisions of the CARES Act.

Additional resources include Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services fact sheets and guidance and legislative summaries from the government and other reputable sources.

I encourage you to bookmark ACR’s COVID-19 Economic and Regulatory Updates page to keep informed on the latest information.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, and join the discussion on Engage (login required).

Navigating Difficult Days with Collaboration and Resiliency

Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, chair, American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors, contributed this post.

We are facing an unprecedented time, but we are a resilient community, and we will persevere. Many of you may be facing challenges navigating working from home while caring for your children. You may also be worried about friends and family, or your own physical and mental health. But perhaps most importantly, you are likely concerned about how COVID-19 will impact the health of the patients and communities we serve.

Yet I’m so inspired and sustained by the collaboration happening on our platforms, like Engage. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to please join that community and keep in touch with us. Keep in touch with each other.

I’d like to highlight some of the latest radiology resources the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) is making available:

Additionally, your ACR Government Relations team is working furiously to ensure that whatever version of the relief bill goes forward does not include provisions that could impact your long term ability to provide care to your patients.

The ACR is here to support you throughout this rapidly evolving situation. Our radiology community is stronger together, even as we stay far apart.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, and join the discussion on Engage (login required).

COVID-19: Updates for Radiologists

Thorwarth_20140414_008William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR, chief executive officer of the American College of Radiology, contributed this post.

I want to thank all radiologists, allied professionals and health care workers on the front lines of our efforts to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) is monitoring communications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other reliable sources to keep you informed on the latest medical and radiological community guidance to help you protect patients and providers from COVID-19.

As such, the COVID-19 Radiology-Specific Resources section on ACR.org will be continually updated to offer access to critical, up-to-date information for all radiologists. I’ve also outlined the latest guidelines below:

Rescheduling Non-Urgent Care
The ACR fully supports and recommends compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDS) guidance that advises medical facilities to “reschedule non-urgent outpatient visits as necessary.”  This includes non-urgent imaging and fluoroscopy procedures, including but not limited to: screening mammography, lung cancer screening, non-urgent computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, plain film X-ray exams, and other non-emergent or elective radiologic and radiologically guided exams and procedures. Radiologists should work with their referring physicians to review and reschedule such exams.

COVID-19 Diagnosis
Chest radiography and computed tomography (CT) should not be used to screen for or as a first-line test to diagnose COVID-19. Instead, CT should be used sparingly and reserved for hospitalized, symptomatic patients with specific clinical indications for CT. Radiologists should familiarize themselves with the CT appearance of COVID-19 infection in order to be able to identify findings consistent with infection in patients imaged for other reasons.

Get more details.

Reducing Risk of On-Site COVID-19 Infection
Please review these resources:

I encourage you to bookmark the ACR’s COVID-19 Radiology-Specific Resources, share them with your colleagues, and monitor updates from CDC, WHO and other reliable sources at your institutions.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, and join the discussion on Engage (login required).