I hope that by now you are familiar with the Imaging 3.0 campaign. If you’re not, please check out our website at http://www.acr.org/Advocacy/Economics-Health-Policy/Imaging-3. There you will find case studies, scholarly articles and a flowchart that you can use to analyze the challenges and opportunities for your practice.
The American College of Radiology’s economics and government relations teams are working hard to make sure that the principles of Imaging 3.0 are incentivized in payment policy. As we do that, however, it is important to be clear on what we are already getting paid for under the descriptions of work contained in the Medicare physician fee schedule.
Medicare divides physician work into three categories: pre-service, intra-service and post-service work. The interpretation of the images and the generation of a report constitutes the intra-service work. For most radiology services there are important components of the service we provide that are considered pre- and post-service work. Protocoling the exam, counseling the patient about contrast allergies or discussing the indications for the examination with the technologist are pre-service work. Finalizing the report and the all important communication with referring physician colleagues (when it occurs) are contained within the existing definition of post-service work. All of the aforementioned elements are included for Medicare reimbursement as it currently stands.
As we look for ways to recognize the many ways that radiologists deliver value in the new world of health care, it is critical that we understand what we are already getting paid for albeit at less than optimal rates for many services.