Be MACRA Ready: Get Started Today

Dr. SilvaThis post was contributed by Ezequiel Silva III, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Economics.

As previously noted here, payment change is getting real.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) repealed the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. It also replaces existing quality programs with the Quality Payment Programs (QPP) in which physician payments will be based on participation in one of two pathways: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or Alternative Payment Models (APMs). These programs reward physicians based on performance data and taking part in new payment and delivery models.

With this new law in place, each of us (or at least someone in our practices) is going to have to learn to pass “MACRA economics.”

ACR continues to develop tools to help us do that. The new “Be MACRA Ready” section on the ACR website provides MACRA basics.

  • What Are MIPS and APMs, as Defined by MACRA?
  • What Do I Need to Know (About MACRA)?
  • What Do I Need to Do (to Be MACRA Ready)?

The College is developing more in-depth materials and easily accessed resources for members, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) clarifies how MACRA may be implemented. But, I would invite you to get started now with the wealth of materials the College already has in place.

We are all in this together.

What are you and/or your practice doing to get ready for the transition from volume- to value-based care?  What lessons have you learned from the process? We can learn from each other.

When Campaign Promises and Radiology Intersect

This post was contributed by Stephen Ferrara, MD, a member of the ACR Commission on Government Relations.

Ferrara_StephenPolitical spectators agree that the current election season is one for the record books.

An angry and polarized electorate is clamoring for bold changes on both the domestic and foreign policy fronts. So the question is, “Will this affect radiology, and if so, how?”

Both political parties have advanced platforms that embrace significant change in health care, with one side advocating further expansion of government-run health insurance and the other scrapping the current law in favor of market-based reform. The prospect of continued divided government and the general difficulty in achieving “big things” in Washington makes it unlikely that either side will realize the full extent of their campaign promises. However, regardless of who wins the White House or the Senate, it’s likely that health care will continue to be a political chess piece.

Being watchful and prepared for what policymakers consider “soft targets” or “easy wins” makes us better poised to weather the storm. Because of the superb vigilance and advocacy of the College, there have been several legislative wins in recent years—and although difficult to imagine—the job gets tougher all the time.

Radiologists will continue to be among the most impactful members of a patient’s health care team, but that’s not enough. In order to not become a soft target, it’s essential that patients, the public and policymakers understand the tremendous value we instill into the health care equation. We accomplish this by being ambassadors of our craft and positively engaging with patients, colleagues, administrators and public officials. It’s easier than it sounds. After all, quality is our image.

Need concrete steps to allow radiologists to take a leadership role in shaping America’s future health care system? ACR provides extensive free resources, including the Imaging 3.0™ initiative, the Radiology Support, Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCAN), the Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care, the National Radiology Data Registry (NRDR®), the Most Valuable Radiology Practice action plan and the JACR Imaging Value Chain Series. The Radiology Advocacy Network (RAN) is radiology’s voice on Capitol Hill.

Challenge: Can you name three ways that you demonstrate the value of your work outside of radiology?


Turn Words into Action Now

Dr Thorwarth_20140414_008

You may have received an email from ACR Board Chair James Brink, MD, FACR, asking you to urge the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reconsider its proposal to allow advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to order, supervise and interpret imaging exams.  I strongly encourage you to do so.

If we want to provide the best care for our patients – including our nation’s veterans – we have to speak up when something is proposed that seriously undermines the quality of imaging care they receive.

At this point, the VA is only proposing that APRNs perform and interpret imaging. There is still time to preserve high-quality imaging care for our veterans.

Click here to take action (contact your Member of Congress).