How to Lead in Times of Crisis

Dana H. Smetherman, MD, MPH, MBA, FACR, Chair of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Commission on Breast Imaging, contributed this post.

I entered 2020 with only a vague sense of the impending threat of COVID-19. By mid-March, the pandemic made it necessary for all healthcare workers to become leaders in this fight. The mantle was ours, and shirking it was not an option. COVID-19 dealt the healthcare community a heavy blow; it robbed us of the bedrock of our scientific method and left a disconcerting lack of certainty in its wake. Radiologists, nonetheless, did not sit idly by in this battle; we embraced this challenge to lead — in our departments, hospitals, clinics, homes and communities — in times of crisis.

During my keynote at the 2021 ACR-RBMA Practice Leaders Forum, I’ll share tips on how to lead in times of crisis, strengthen resiliency and boost practice performance. I hope you’ll attend the virtual program Jan. 22–23, 2021.

I will share some of my top takeaways from my own experience at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, including some of the rapid process improvements we’ve implemented. From harnessing the power of imaging studies to utilizing digital communication to stay connected, we quickly redesigned processes and implemented measures to keep our patients and personnel safe. We persevered, innovated, adapted and learned quickly together with courage and composure. 

Earlier this week, we saw history in the making as Americans rolled up their sleeves to receive the first doses of the vaccination against COVID-19. The prospect of a brighter tomorrow started to gleam, but the dawn is not yet here. So, we will continue to lead because we must. We will remain vigilant in our safety precautions, take the vaccine when it is offered, encourage others to do so and continue to lead with compassion and hope. And we’ll continue to share best practices and learn from each other as leaders in this fight.

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

ACR 2021 Goes Virtual: What to Expect

Richard Duszak Jr., MD, FACR, American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Council Speaker, contributed this post.

What was once considered an unprecedented time has become our new normal. As physical and online shopping carts continue to fill with face masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning products, your ACR Council Steering Committee (CSC) has been working diligently with ACR staff to plan for the ACR 2021 Annual Meeting.

The CSC recently shared its decision to conduct the ACR 2021 Annual Meeting virtually May 15-19, 2021. We’ve decided to move forward in a virtual format recognizing that many of our attendees are under travel restrictions and unable to attend an in-person meeting, and prioritizing the safety of all ACR members, staff and their families.

I’m looking forward to sharing additional details about our plans and hearing from many of you during the ACR Council Town Hall on Dec. 16 at 8pm ET. Please join me and Council Vice Speaker Amy Kotsenas, MD, FACR, to discuss lessons learned from ACR 2020, feedback and opportunities for improvement, and how we can expand ACR 2021 to make it a much richer meeting experience. We’ll also provide an opportunity for participants to share their ideas for improvement and to ask questions.

I hope you’ll register to attend the ACR Council Town Hall. Save your spot today, and submit your questions in advance to csc@acr.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

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

The Fight Is Not Over on Radiology Cuts From Medicare E/M Changes

Howard B. Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR, Chair of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Board of Chancellors, contributed this post.

The FY 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule has been released. Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) failed to protect patients and providers from the impact of drastic reimbursement cuts due to evaluation and management (E/M) code changes, the fight is not over.

An American College of Radiology® (ACR®)-led coalition of more than 50 medical associations continues to press Congress to include “Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020,” (HR 8702) protections in any legislation passed before it adjourns at the end of December.  

HR 8702 allows pay increases for providers who often bill for E/M services but avoids corresponding cuts to radiologists and other providers due to Medicare’s budget neutrality requirements.

As ACR members, all of us need to continue to support ACR’s ongoing efforts to pass these protections.

Tell your senators to stop these drastic cuts.

Now is the time for our radiology community to come together.

Now is the time to act.       

Now is the time to protect our patients and our practices.

Together, we can do this. 

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or on social media using #StopTheCuts.