R-SCAN: We’ve Got Your Back

Nicola_GThis post was contributed by Gregory N. Nicola, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Economics Committee on MACRA.

A couple of years ago, a multispecialty group of clinicians at my institution, including nurses, pharmacists and physicians representing multiple specialties including orthopedics, emergency medicine and radiology started a conversation about reducing low value imaging — particularly evaluation of non-traumatic pain in the ED.

The resulting We’ve Got Your Back program puts Choosing Wisely recommendations into practice. For this, our team was recently named Choosing Wisely “Champions” by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). This initiative has energized our organization; with subsequent widespread support for exploring other Choosing Wisely topics, expanding our collaboration and utilizing the tools provided by Radiology, Support, Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCAN).R-SCAN logo

The effort has also advanced care coordination and communication amongst all clinicians which will no doubt translate into high-value care for our patients. I invite you to reach out to referring providers in your hospital or community to work together to ensure that the most appropriate scans (if any are needed) are ordered before you see the patient.

Freely available R-SCAN resources make this easier than you may think. R-SCAN prepares you and your referring providers for the coming federal mandate that providers consult appropriate use criteria before ordering advanced imaging for Medicare patients. A key participation benefit is radiologists and collaborating referring doctors may earn seven medium-weight Improvement Activity (IA) Credits for completing an R-SCAN project this year.

It gets referring doctors familiar with clinical decision support technology at no cost. R-SCAN participants gain free access to a customized version the ACR Select® CDS tool, the web-based version of the ACR Appropriateness Criteria®. And, you and referring doctors can get complimentary CME credit.

More information can be found on the R-SCAN website, including the how-to guide, topics, project results, topic-specific resources and FAQs.

If you’re participating in R-SCAN, tell us about your project.

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

Opposition to Anthem Imaging Policies Gains Momentum

moran4This post was contributed by American College of Radiology Executive Vice President of Government Relations and Health Policy Cynthia Moran.

Opposition to new Anthem outpatient imaging policies is not just for radiologists anymore.

As reported by Politico*, a national political and public policy news outlet, 11 medical societies and patient advocacy groups signed a Jan. 16 letter telling Anthem to drop these policies. The American Medical Association has called for Anthem to abandon these policies as well.

This week, legislation was introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates to effectively bar Anthem from implementing these policies there. The legislation would bar Anthem and other insurers from implementing similar policies in the Commonwealth.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) would oppose any policy that excludes coverage for any site of service based primarily on insurer profit. That would include policies that refuse to cover (or dramatically reduce payment for imaging done in freestanding centers or independent diagnostic testing facilities.

In the long run, such meat cleaver policies by Anthem will affect imaging providers and those they serve, regardless of setting. The ACR and others want to ensure that patients get the care they need where they want to receive it. The movement is growing.

Radiologists should check out ACR Anthem Outpatient Imaging Policy Resources for more information on how you can help counter these arbitrary and unwise policies.

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

*Scroll halfway down page to article titled “Anthem’s payment changes spark blowback.”



Fostering the Future of Radiology

sm_Michele_Johnson_4063 JPGThis post was contributed by Michele H. Johnson, MD, FACR, FASER, Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and Neurosurgery at Yale University School of Medicine; Director of Interventional Neuroradiology

As a recent VOR blog post reinforced, an introduction to radiology early in medical training may boost resident recruitment.

In an effort to make radiology and radiation oncology more patient- and family-centered in multicultural communities, we need to attract the best and brightest medical students from diverse backgrounds – striving to mirror the populations we serve.

In 2017, my department hosted a first-year medical student as a summer intern for 8 weeks. This was part of a partnership between the ACR Commission for Women and Diversity and Nth Dimensions™ offering five such internships nationwide for female and underrepresented minority students.

ACR is calling on members to encourage interested first-year medical students to apply for these internships this year. Opportunities exist in Diagnostic and interventional radiology and in radiation oncology.

The PIER summer internship program is only one component of a larger Medical Education & Student Outreach effort to educate medical students on our career fields.

ACR members – in collaboration with the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and various institutions – are speaking directly to medical students at mentoring events around the country.

ACR members are volunteering to serve as mentors to medical students through a match program featured on the AMSA website.

If you are interested in becoming a radiology mentor or hosting a summer internship in 2018 (or beyond), I strongly encourage you to contact the ACR.

You will be glad you did. It was a wonderful and potential life changing experience for both the student and the mentor.

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