Radiologists: Front Line and Center

This post was contributed by Robert S. Pyatt Jr., MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Commission on General, Small, Emergency and/or Rural Practice.

Pyatt2013MedStaffPresidentPhotoEvery year there is a day that we can showcase the value of radiology in our local communities.

Nov. 8 is the International Day of Radiology (IDoR). It marks the 122nd anniversary of the discovery of the X-ray and the development of radiology.

We must tell our publics that radiology is essential for diagnosis and treatment. Our tools and techniques are developed and refined to ensure their health. IDoR gives us that chance.

We should let others know with grassroots celebrations in our hospitals and practices.

The ACR provides an IDoR toolkit with free materials that can be customized and ideas on how to celebrate.IDOR_poster_72dpi_800px_breit

Other related materials include ACR educational resources, Radiology Support, Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCAN) projects to ensure patients receive optimal imaging care and Imaging 3.0 case studies.

 IDoR is sponsored by the ACR, RSNA and European Society of Radiology (ESR). It will focus on emergency radiologists, who are on the front lines of patient care 24/7/365. It will include celebrations during National Radiologic Technology Week (Nov. 5–11).

This one day is set aside to highlight radiology advances, but it’s a great opportunity to let others know radiology makes a world of difference every day.

Could you lend us your—thunder? Let others know that radiology saves lives and join our Thunderclap, a crowd-speaking platform that helps individuals be heard by saying something together.

 How do you plan on celebrating IDoR 2017? Share your ideas below. Also tag us with your photos on social media using the hashtag #IDoR2017.

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Opposition to the Anthem Policy Is Not a One Horse Race

This post was contributed by Ezequiel Silva III, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Commission on Economics.

Dr. SilvaSome have questioned why the ACR would oppose the new Anthem outpatient imaging policy. This policy refuses to cover beneficiaries for MRI and CT performed in the outpatient setting — with only case-by-case exceptions.

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

This Anthem policy is a strong-arm tactic to impel hospitals to renegotiate existing contracts. It puts patients and providers in the middle of a payment squabble. That is inappropriate.

Care is not homogeneous across communities. Policies that steer patients based mainly on cost have the potential for adverse consequences to patients. That is why a growing number of patient groups are opposing the Anthem policy.

We are not defending variations in imaging charges depending on the site of service. This is an issue that every insurer — including Medicare — is grappling with. ACR can engage in those conversations with Medicare, but has no sway with hospitals or private insurers on imaging charges.

In the long run, such meat cleaver policies by Anthem will affect imaging providers and those they serve regardless of care setting. They are little more than efforts to make imaging a commodity to be performed by the lowest bidder. Whether you practice in an office setting, IDTF or hospital you should be concerned about what this means for your patients, your practice and your profession.

The ACR is not backing one site of service over the other. We are just doing what the ACR always does: ensuring that patients have ready-access to the highest quality care in the setting they want to receive it. That is good for everyone.

See ACR resources regarding the Anthem outpatient imaging policy.

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We Are Not Alone Against Anthem Imaging Policy

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This post was contributed by American College of Radiology Chief Executive Officer William T. Thorwarth, MD, FACR.

Whether you practice in an office setting or hospital, the Anthem outpatient imaging policy will ultimately affect you. It makes imaging a commodity to be performed by the lowest bidder — even if the policy may be bad for patients. And patients (and others) are starting to take note.

Just this week, the Lung Cancer Alliance, a leading lung cancer care advocacy group, urged Anthem to drop the new policy. Other patient advocacy groups oppose the Anthem policy and will tell them so in the near future.

The American Medical Association has already asked Anthem to reconsider its new imaging policy. And communities in states affected by the Anthem move are publicly sharing their disapproval.

Others are recognizing that this Anthem effort to strong arm hospitals into renegotiating contracts is not a good thing for patients, providers or coordinated health care delivery.

If you practice in the nine states impacted by the Anthem policy to date, I urge you to review the ACR toolkit of materials to help you push back against this cost-cutting move.

ACR is working with state chapters to reach out to state legislators and insurance commissioners.

I also invite you to share your experiences of the Anthem imaging policy impacting care, and encourage your patients to do so here.

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