Electing Action

This post was contributed by Debra Monticciolo, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Commission on Breast imaging.

DEBRA MONTICCIOLO MD FACRThis year, the Nov. 8 International Day of Radiology (#IDoR2016), with its spotlight on breast imaging, comes immediately on the heels of this month’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This is a terrific opportunity to amplify the actions taken at the national level by the ACR and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) in our communities.

The ACR and SBI guidelines (along with those from other breast cancer expert groups) continue to strongly recommend that women get annual mammograms starting at age 40.  This will give women the maximum lifesaving benefit from mammography, which can cut breast cancer deaths by more than 40 percent. ACR and SBI continue fight to preserve access to mammograms, recently joining patient groups and minority health care advocates to urge Congress to extend mandatory insurance coverage for women 40 and older who want annual mammograms. But it’s a battle we need to fight together.

In addition to what ACR and SBI do, how can we, in our practices and daily lives, support and advance breast imaging? The answer is simple — elect action.

  • Support the Nov. 8 International Day of Radiology. How? Get ready now; see our ideas and free resources.
  • Join the #IDoR2016 Thunderclap with ACR, RLI and Image Wisely. It’s easy.
  • Get social and share your photos and activities with the radiology community on ACR Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Remember to tag @RadiologyACR and use #IDoR2016.
  • Use the ACR-provided free and customizable #IDoR2016 ideas and resources.
  • Check out our breast cancer awareness resources, including solid data on screening, at ACR.org
  • Celebrate breast cancer awareness annually and throughout the year at the local level.
  • Prompt discussions with patients regarding their ability to gain access to care.
  • Be acquainted with — and send your patients — to resources like Mammography Saves Lives, org and End the Confusion.

National awareness campaigns give us the chance — at the local level — to celebrate the thousands of lives saved by the many contributions of breast imagers and radiation oncologists. We can also highlight breast imaging and the essential role that radiology plays in the detection, diagnosis and management of breast disease. Let’s not end breast cancer awareness in October and November.

What are you doing that successfully promotes breast imaging locally? Let us know here on via Engage (log in required).

Payment and Delivery Change Is Now Real

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

Dr. SilvaThe Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) CY2017 Final Rule. With that, payment change that was “getting real” has become real. ACR has been planning for CMS implementation of MACRA and can help us help each other make the transition.

Most recently, the College has analyzed the 2,400-page document and posted a radiology-specific summary of the MACRA Final Rule to give us a better idea of what CMS has actually done and how it may affect us.

This summary joins a wealth of other ACR-developed tools and resources in theBe MACRA Readysection on acr.org, which provides information on the most recent developments and 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)?

You should also know that ACR members are sharing their expertise with CMS to ensure optimal radiology quality metrics are developed as value-based care advances. This week, David J. Seidenwurm, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Quality Metrics Committee, was named to the CMS Technical Expert Panel for the Quality Measure Development Plan. He will do a fantastic job!

Meanwhile, the College continues to monitor health care delivery and payment changes. ACR is developing more in-depth materials and easily accessed MACRA resources for members. But, I would urge you not to wait until CMS finishes implementing MACRA to become familiar with it.

Please start educating yourself on MACRA now with the wealth of materials the College has in place.

We are all in this together. And together, we will move radiology (and the rest of medicine) forward.

  • How are you and your practice getting ready for value-based care?
  • What lessons have you learned from the process?
  • How do you think others can learn from what you have experienced?

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



Fighting the Drip

jay-baker-300-375This post was contributed by Jay Baker, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Communications Committee.

It’s not unusual for medical journals to want to make a splash during October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  If there are no advancements to report, a thinly supported, but controversial, article may do.

The latest case in point is an Oct. 13 New England Journal of Medicine article (Welch et al). This article claims that mammography has little impact on patient survival and that improved therapies are responsible for decreased breast cancer deaths in recent decades.

And once again the American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) must correct inaccuracies of a scientifically flawed study, addressing its obfuscation of issues before real lives are lost.

Unfortunately, our response can’t come after an article is published to be optimally effective. By then, it is often too late. You have to learn about controversial articles prior to publication, gather the materials to rebut the misinformation and get the correct data to reporters and decision makers before the studies are published.

This has to happen in a matter of days, often at night and during weekends. It has to be done in a manner that doesn’t perpetuate the myth that radiologists only push back because they are paid to do mammograms. But, more importantly, it has to be done.

If not, the drip of misinformation becomes a torrent of falsities that confuses women, restricts insured access to mammography and reverses years of progress against the nation’s second leading cancer killer in women.

The ACR and SBI have resources on their websites to help you not only educate patients on why women should start annual mammograms at age 40, but educate local reporters against the latest published misperceptions, possibly the result of peer-review failure. Helpful resources can also be found at MammographySavesLives.org and RadiologyInfo.org.

  •  What do you think of the Welch article? The ACR/SBI response?
  • Do you get calls from your local reporters to respond to the latest research?
  • Do you have any tips learned from these experiences that may help your fellow radiologists do the same?    

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