What’s the Big Picture on the Anthem Imaging Policy?

Brink Headshot JPGThis post was contributed by James A. Brink, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors.

Soon you will receive in the mail a print copy of my latest JACR column explaining why the ACR opposes recent Anthem outpatient imaging policies and why this action supports all radiologists and our patients.

There is some confusion among members on the ACR stance. The College wants you to see our rationale as soon as possible.

Anthem now bars many beneficiaries from getting advanced imaging in hospital outpatient departments. Modern Healthcare recently reported how these policies can disadvantage patients for whom hospitals provide their desired or most convenient access to imaging exams.

Anthem has accelerated a reimbursement race to the bottom that threatens our ability to offer care in all locations that patients may want to receive it. That is why the American Medical Association (AMA) and a growing number of patient groups oppose the Anthem policy.

The ACR is not taking sides in the marketplace (hospital vs. freestanding radiologists). The ACR would equally oppose a reverse steerage policy that arbitrarily moved patients from independent imaging centers to hospital-based facilities.

Whether you practice in a hospital-based or independently owned facility, this insurer-driven steerage is detrimental to you and your patients. That is why the ACR opposes it.

Please keep an eye on your mailbox for the ACR letter and on your inbox for further updates from the College on this vitally important issue. We need to stand united.

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