Opposition to Anthem Imaging Policies Gains Momentum

moran4This post was contributed by American College of Radiology Executive Vice President of Government Relations and Health Policy Cynthia Moran.

Opposition to new Anthem outpatient imaging policies is not just for radiologists anymore.

As reported by Politico*, a national political and public policy news outlet, 11 medical societies and patient advocacy groups signed a Jan. 16 letter telling Anthem to drop these policies. The American Medical Association has called for Anthem to abandon these policies as well.

This week, legislation was introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates to effectively bar Anthem from implementing these policies there. The legislation would bar Anthem and other insurers from implementing similar policies in the Commonwealth.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) would oppose any policy that excludes coverage for any site of service based primarily on insurer profit. That would include policies that refuse to cover (or dramatically reduce payment for imaging done in freestanding centers or independent diagnostic testing facilities.

In the long run, such meat cleaver policies by Anthem will affect imaging providers and those they serve, regardless of setting. The ACR and others want to ensure that patients get the care they need where they want to receive it. The movement is growing.

Radiologists should check out ACR Anthem Outpatient Imaging Policy Resources for more information on how you can help counter these arbitrary and unwise policies.

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

*Scroll halfway down page to article titled “Anthem’s payment changes spark blowback.”




Fostering the Future of Radiology

sm_Michele_Johnson_4063 JPGThis post was contributed by Michele H. Johnson, MD, FACR, FASER, Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and Neurosurgery at Yale University School of Medicine; Director of Interventional Neuroradiology

As a recent VOR blog post reinforced, an introduction to radiology early in medical training may boost resident recruitment.

In an effort to make radiology and radiation oncology more patient- and family-centered in multicultural communities, we need to attract the best and brightest medical students from diverse backgrounds – striving to mirror the populations we serve.

In 2017, my department hosted a first-year medical student as a summer intern for 8 weeks. This was part of a partnership between the ACR Commission for Women and Diversity and Nth Dimensions™ offering five such internships nationwide for female and underrepresented minority students.

ACR is calling on members to encourage interested first-year medical students to apply for these internships this year. Opportunities exist in Diagnostic and interventional radiology and in radiation oncology.

The PIER summer internship program is only one component of a larger Medical Education & Student Outreach effort to educate medical students on our career fields.

ACR members – in collaboration with the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and various institutions – are speaking directly to medical students at mentoring events around the country.

ACR members are volunteering to serve as mentors to medical students through a match program featured on the AMSA website.

If you are interested in becoming a radiology mentor or hosting a summer internship in 2018 (or beyond), I strongly encourage you to contact the ACR.

You will be glad you did. It was a wonderful and potential life changing experience for both the student and the mentor.

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

More Women Needed in Radiology

Dr.McGinty(updated)_andcroppedDr. Kathleen Ward, an inaugural Fellow of the American Association of Women Radiologists,  recently acknowledged that radiology lags behind other specialties and medical school classes in gender diversity.

To boost recruitment, Dr. Ward urged that all medical students be exposed to radiology early in their clinical years.

Many of us are in the thick of residency interviews. The consensus is that we are getting more terrific candidates than ever. Some programs are now measuring their match performance not just on the board scores of their future residents, but also on the diversity of the group.

That is a positive trend. We know that what gets measured gets done. But, why is it important to make our profession more diverse?

Statistics show that business performance improves with more diverse boards and corporate leadership. Is the same true of radiology?

Also, as we face disruptions around the application of machine learning to our work, should we have to worry about the gender or ethnicity of those who perform it?

For me, the answer boils down to what I see as our core purpose as physicians: serving our patients. Specifically: our imperative to refashion our processes of care around our patients rather than around our needs. We do that most effectively when we reflect the community we serve.

This is not to say that we have to do that in a prescriptive way, but that the conversations around research direction, around technology innovation and around metrics of practice quality can be enabled and improved by bringing in diverse viewpoints and perspectives.

I’m excited about foundational work that the American College of Radiology will undertake early in 2018 under the auspices of the Commission on Women and Diversity. A rigorous survey will be conducted so that we can better understand the barriers to a more diverse radiology workforce.

I find some of the anecdotes that point to women’s fear of physics or working in dark rooms worthy of an eye roll. But I’d like to have actionable real data either way. We’re grateful to Dr. Pari Pandharipande of the Massachusetts General Hospital for her leadership on this important initiative.

On a lighter note: we need more women in radiology because those we have are an inspiring, energetic and cool bunch! They are my mentors, teachers and friends. Our #radxx community is strong and growing using innovative tools and partnerships to build community. We are delighted to include our #radxy colleagues because they, too, are our mentors, teachers and friends.

Wishing you and those you love a very happy holiday, and we’ll see you next year!

Please share your thoughts on how we can make radiology more diverse  in the comments section below and joining the discussion on Engage (login required).