ACA Repeal and Replace Process Gets Underway

moran4This post contributed by ACR Executive Vice President of Government Relations, Economics and Health Policy Cindy Moran.

President Donald Trump is working to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare as defined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Trump has issued an executive order urging federal agencies, within the limits of current law, to scale back regulations created by the ACA. And other options are open to the Trump administration before Congress addresses his pledge to repeal and replace the program.

Actions could start at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Internal Revenue Service if they no longer pursue enforcement of the individual mandate that requires most legal residents to have health insurance. The requirement is widely seen by ACA supporters as essential for generating enough revenue from healthy Americans to offset the costs of treating people who require care. The administration could also eliminate or elect to not enforce the employer mandate that requires businesses to provide insurance coverage as long as they have greater than 50 employees.

Trump could also instruct the Justice Department to drop the Obama administration’s appeal of House v. Burwell. A district court judge previously ruled that many expenditures not formally approved by Congress to reimburse health insurers for covering the working poor were unconstitutional.

With respect to essential health benefits, HHS might decide to lessen the minimum types of services insurers are required to provide patients via new regulations that would ultimately be supported by the Trump administration.

Again, this process is just beginning. The ACR continues to work with those in Congress and regulatory agencies to ensure that radiology’s voice is heard throughout the effort to potentially repeal and replace the ACA.

We also continue to address MACRA, clinical decision support implementation, continued full coverage for cancer screening exams and preventative care, Medicare CT colonography coverage, and a host of radiology-specific issues on Capitol Hill and in state houses nationwide.

The ACR will continue to inform members of developments regarding ACA repeal and replace or any other issue affecting radiology in the weeks, months and years ahead.

In the meantime, please monitor the Advocacy in Action e-newsletter and the Advocacy section of the ACR website for additional information on all these pending efforts.

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Radiologists Have a Face (#RadsHaveAFace)


This post was contributed by Nicole Saphier, MD.

FOX News Channel recently asked me to provide ongoing comment on health care policy on their national morning show “Fox & Friends.” As a radiologist and physician, I jumped at the chance. I think physicians should provide public context on important health care issues. And radiologists must reinforce that we are physicians with vital expertise that can help ensure health care reform actually makes care better.

I am not suggesting that every radiologist has the opportunity to be on television every Thursday. However, if we look for opportunities to raise our profile in practices and our communities, we will find them — whether in person or online.

Social media may be a place to start. I have launched a webpage and a Twitter account to maintain the patient and community connections I have made during my career. I created the #RadsHaveAFace hashtag to urge all of us to spend face time with our patients.

I am a breast imaging radiologist. I understand that every radiology discipline may not lend itself to regularly seeing patients, but I will bet that many other radiologists (or at least one on the radiologist team) can make time to see a patient or two. Reinforcing the patient experience is a building block of reinforcing your role as one of “his” or “her” doctor (in the patient’s view).

Offering yourself as an expert interview source is another avenue to higher visibility. Brett Parkinson, MD, and I will share our media expertise at the upcoming ACR/SBI Breast Imaging Symposium in Los Angeles. If you will be at that meeting, and I invite you to check it out.

The ACR provides patient- and family-centered care resources, including a whole series of Imaging 3.0 case studies, to help equip you to engage patients in their care experience.

In the meantime, what do you think are some things that have worked for you to increase your patient interaction or visibility?

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Who Wouldn’t Want to Be a Radiologist?

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

Dr.McGinty(updated)You don’t have to tell me that it’s great to be a radiologist, but a new CNNMoney/PayScale study did.

The survey declared that being a Radiologist ranks 45th out of 100 occupations as one of the “Best Jobs in America,” with “big growth, great pay and satisfying work.” For me, the most important one is the satisfying work: we are vital to the health care team, providing invaluable services and creating a culture of high-value, patient-centered care.

According to the study, being a Radiologist ranks below Dentist and immediately above Career Counselor. I’m not sure what that says, but the study does project a 10-year job growth of 15 percent for us, ranking the specialty as one of the best career paths to pursue. As an aside, other medical professionals listed include Hospital Administrator (8th), General Practice Physician (75th) and Anesthesiologist (100th).

“Being a strong collaborator is helpful,” notes the study, “since the job often involves consulting with other doctors.” A Radiologist’s quality of life ratings include personal satisfaction (“A”), benefit to society (“A”) and low stress (“B”).

Surveys like this are beneficial since they let others know of the importance and appeal of radiology — hopefully drawing a diverse group of medical students to the specialty.

If you know medical students, please share information about the Nth Dimensions/ACR Radiology Summer Internship Program for first-year gender and ethnic minority students. The application deadline is tight (Jan. 31). Summer interns will work with experienced radiologists, gaining valuable first-hand clinical and research experience.

  • What would you tell medical students — Why are you happy to be a radiologist?
  • How do you rank your quality of life ratings — in personal satisfaction, benefit to society and low stress?
  • How can we get more — and a diverse group — of medical students interested in radiology?

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