In-House Advocacy: Demonstrating IR Value

This post was contributed by American College of Radiology Chief Executive Officer William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR, and Society of Interventional Radiology President Charles E. Ray Jr., MD, PhD, FSIR.

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William T. Thorwarth, MD, FACR

With a few notable exceptions, the current interventional radiology model in many health care systems is for interventional radiologists, whether part of the hospital based radiology group or employed by the hospital, to just do specific procedures on a case-by-case basis. Many IRs want to expand on that model to see in-house clinical IR practices offer robust service lines in their health systems.

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Charles E. Ray Jr., MD, PhD, FSIR

Available at acr.org/IR (and soon on an updated SIR site), the groups have created a toolkit of downloadable resources that local IRs can customize and use to educate hospital executives and radiology group officers on the benefits of starting an in-house clinical IR practice.However, many local IRs may not have the tools or resources to start conversations with health system decision makers to get such practices off the ground. The ACR and SIR have joined forces to overcome this challenge.

Interventional radiology has a significant story to tell. And health care payment and delivery changes under MACRA may be a powerful wind at our back.

We strongly urge interventional radiologists and radiology business managers to use these new resources to begin conversations with local health executives about starting an in-house IR function.

You can see more on this effort in this week’s Advocacy in Action e-news, but in the meantime, we would like to know:

  • Are you (or your group) considering approaching your hospital administrators about starting an in-house clinical IR practice?
  • Are you aware of other resources that the ACR-SIR should add to the IR Toolkit?
  • Have you already started an in-house IR practice at your local hospital or health system – and what tips might you have for other IRs considering this step?

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

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Get MACRA Ready with ACR Lectures at RSNA

Dr.McGinty(updated)This post was contributed by Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, vice chair of the American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors.

As we continue to voice, payment change — as a result of the recently passed Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) — is real. And we, as radiology professionals (physicians, medical physicists, business managers and technologists), must familiarize ourselves with MACRA: how it is being implemented and what it means for us.

ACR 2017 will offer sessions to help radiologists and radiology professionals make the leap from volume to value-based care. But, in the meantime, I invite you to take advantage of the ACR sessions at the upcoming RSNA annual meeting.

I will be taking part in one important session on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at RSNA.  ACR Economics Chair Ezequiel Silva, MD, FACR, is actually presenting at a number of sessions to help us all understand what is happening and how we can effectively move forward.

In prep for these meetings (and in general), I also invite you to check out the ACR’s MACRA Resources: Understanding MIPS and APMs section. This special web section explains what MIPS and APMs are as defined under MACRA, what you need to know, and what you may need to do regarding keeping you and your practice ahead of the MACRA curve.

So that we can help each other move forward, please share

  • What steps are you your practice taking to get ready for value-based care?
  • Have you learned any lessons from the steps you have taken to date?
  • What 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).

Think “A-Head” for Our Kids

This post was contributed by Donald Frush, MD, FACR, chair of the Image Gently Alliance and Image Gently liaison to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

donald-frushIn a first for our smallest patients, the Image Gently Alliance joined forces with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery and allied medical organizations to improve the use of head computed tomography (CT) scans in children with minor head injuries.

By working together with emergency care physicians, technologists, medical physicists and others, radiologists can make a change in our practices to benefit our patients.

Our collaboration launched the new “Think A-Head” campaign with tools and resources to aidig16_thinkahead_pstr

As radiologists, we’re concentrating on delivering high-quality value-based medical care in new payment and delivery systems, focusing on achieving optimal outcomes at the lowest cost that are patient-centered. Think A-Head delivers on the promise that radiology is both image centric and patient centric.

These are the questions I hope that you are asking—all to provide safe, high-quality imaging care.

  • Are you changing your practice by raising awareness of opportunities to lower radiation dose in imaging of children?
  • How have you added real value to the patient-care process?
  • Are you adjusting radiation dose when imaging children?
  • Are you scanning only when necessary?
  • Are you working with a team—involving medical physicists to review pediatric CT techniques and technologists to optimize scanning?

If you haven’t yet, please join the Think A-Head campaign and follow our guidelines and add our informational poster at your hospital/practice. Get the latest research and educational materials to help you on the Image Gently Alliance website. Visit the Image Gently site and pledge to do your part to image gently.

Please note that Image Gently also offers a new website for parents about pediatric imaging (including resources and frequently asked questions). Follow the campaign on social media with #ThinkAhead4Kids.

 How are you changing your practice to provide safe, high-quality imaging care?

 How are you imaging gently?

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