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The Reading Room

Our latest update on all things imaging

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Early results from the 2013 turnaround time survey

December 9, 2013

Solomon Banjo, Imaging Performance Partnership

With only a week left to participate in our 2013 Imaging Turnaround Time Survey, we took a sneak peek at some of the data. On the outpatient side, providers must provide a quality patient experience. For imaging, that often means competing on convenience, which includes reducing wait times as much as possible. However, many providers often wonder just how short wait times need to be to rise above their peers.

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In case you missed it: Breast imaging at RSNA 2013

December 6, 2013

Natalie McGarry, Imaging Performance Partnership

Reporting from the vendor floor, our colleague Alyssa Pollizzi from Technology Insights shares her insights from conversations around breast density and the evolving breast imaging pathway at the RSNA meeting this past week. Read on to learn how breast imaging is changing with technology and increased awareness.

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CMS final rule maintains cuts to CT, MR

December 3, 2013

Shaun Lillard, Imaging Performance Partnership

On November 27, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for the 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS), which cover payment rates for 2014 as well as many associated policies and programs that CMS governs.

CMS has estimated the rule to have an overall -2% impact on payments to radiologists, however, the impact will differ substantially depending on the mix of services provided in different practices. Impact for overall payments to hospitals is not listed.

We've examined the two final rules and highlighted the most significant takeaways for your program.

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How does CT use in the ED differ by age, gender, and geography?

November 25, 2013

Shaun Lillard, Imaging Performance Partnership

A new microsite from Virtual Radiologic (vRad) is helping providers and physicians alike gain insight into Emergency Department (ED) utilization trends. We recently used vRad’s new database to discover that age has a more significant effect on utilization than gender or geography.

Known as the Radiology Patient Care (RPC) Indices, these benchmarking metrics contain results from over 22 million studies, allowing imaging programs to make comparisons with national utilization figures.

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GMA correspondent discovers breast cancer on live television

November 12, 2013

Shaun Lillard, Imaging Performance Partnership

In the ongoing debate over when women should begin to undergo screening mammograms, advocates who say 40 is the right age may have just received strong anecdotal evidence in their favor.

On November 11, ABC News’ Amy Robach, correspondent for Good Morning America, announced through an online post and on her program that the mammogram she received on live television in October led to a discovery of breast cancer.

Organizations such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) and American College of Radiology (ACR), which have always maintained the need for women 40 and older to receive annual screening mammograms, hope that such a high-profile case makes it less likely women age 40 and older will skip their screening exams in the future.

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Time to examine self-referrals?

September 3, 2013

Shaun Lillard, Imaging Performance Partnership

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, self-referral is due for a reevaluation. 

A research team, headed by Dr. Timothy Amrhein of the department of radiology and radiological science at the University of South Carolina, found that physicians with a financial interest in the MRI equipment being used do have a bias toward increase utilization. The study supports the Obama administration’s proposal to restrict the in-office ancillary services exception to the Stark Law.

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A world without preauthorization? Wisconsin pilots new waiver

August 15, 2013

Shanah Tirado, Imaging Performance Partnership

The preauthorization process can be a burden on both referring physicians and radiology providers. It can be labor-intensive and costly to ensure patient exams are preauthorized correctly and mistakes can mean denied claims. 

However, a new policy in Wisconsin may be offering some relief to providers by shifting control from third-party radiology benefits managers (RBMs) to providers utilizing clinical decision support tools.

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Signs of financial relief for radiologists: New bill to repeal SGR clears House committee

August 6, 2013

Shanah Tirado, Imaging Performance Partnership

On Wednesday, July 31, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 51-0 in favor of the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013—a bill that would repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for determining Medicare reimbursement. 

The SGR has driven CMS to slash reimbursements in an effort to aggressively reduce spending. Imaging has been under the microscope as a source of health system waste, experiencing aggressive rate cuts as much as 25% as a result. The new bill shows the promise of relief.

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