What It’s Really Like to Participate in an ACR Fellowship

DrBookerThis post was contributed by Michael Booker, MD, MBA, who is a 3rd year radiology resident at the University of California, San Diego.

It can be daunting as a resident to try to understand the modern United States healthcare system. The industry is incredibly complex and often incomprehensible, with innumerable acronyms, acronyms within acronyms, and opaque language and terminology. Despite this, sustainable and impactful change requires that radiologists become familiar with the current system to drive future transformation. Fortunately for residents and fellows, the American College of Radiology (ACR) invests their time and expertise mentoring and teaching trainees for just this purpose.

The ACR Fellowship Programs represent a particularly unique opportunity to spend dedicated time not only learning, but also working with thought leaders at the ACR. I recently participated in the James M. Moorefield Economics & Health Policy Fellowship. The fellowship, which first began in 2003, is named for Dr. Moorefield in recognition of his service on the ACR Commission on Economics and for his help developing and implementing a relative value scale for radiology in the face of proposed payment cuts.  These efforts continue as a major component of the ACR, and greatly impact every practicing radiologist in the country.

The Moorefield Fellowship embedded me in the Economics and Health Policy teams at ACR headquarters in Virginia for two weeks. Importantly, no prior knowledge was required! The staff was warm and welcoming – eager to meet me at my level of understanding, with dedicated time for teaching and discussion. Not surprisingly, there is no shortage of activity when it comes to economics and health policy. I had the opportunity to work on projects which touched on CPT, RUC, APM/MACRA, HOPPS, clinical decision support, private payer coverage, etc. Specifically, I worked on upcoming RUC cycle relative value unit reevaluations, coding and nomenclature support for ACR members, and site-neutral payment policies. These experiences were bolstered by adjunct opportunities to be a guest of the ACR at recent CPT and RUC meetings. Since I am going into Body Imaging, I specifically involved myself on projects evaluating private insurance coverage for MRI Prostate and CT Colonography reimbursement. I was also able to travel the short commute to the ACR Government Relations office in downtown Washington, DC, where I attended a MedPAC meeting pertinent to medical imaging.

To make the most of being physically present at ACR headquarters, the fellowship also provided opportunities to meet with departments throughout the organization, including the Data Science Institute, Quality and Safety, ACR Press, Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, Legal, and Membership. The breadth and depth of work being done on behalf of ACR members and our patients is truly astounding, and correlates with an equally large number of opportunities for engagement depending on your interests and experience.

It goes without saying that the Moorefield Fellowship is an incredibly unique opportunity. The two weeks I spent at the ACR, and the ongoing relationships I formed, easily exceeded all of my expectations. I strongly encourage residents and fellows to browse the list of fellowships and apply for the one you find most interesting. The more informed and engaged radiologists and radiation oncologists become, the better the future will be for our specialty and our patients.

  • Have you participated in the Moorefield Fellowship, or one of our other fellowships? 
  • Do you know someone who might be interested in the Moorefield Fellowship? Apply by June 1, 2018.

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