The Reading Room

Our latest update on all things imaging

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The ACR's top concerns with the 2016 MPFS final rule

by Solomon Banjo January 11, 2016

As my colleague Erin Lane noted in her analysis of the 2016 MPFS final rule, CMS’s changes to reimbursement for this year left imaging largely unaffected. This was welcomed news for providers accustomed to the sharp cuts of recent years.

However, aspects of the CY 2016 final rule related to clinical decision support (CDS) and lung cancer screening have raised concerns among radiology programs. The American College of Radiology (ACR) sent an 18-page letter to CMS last week commenting on these concerns. Here are the four big issues the ACR believes CMS should address in the future.

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7 things imaging leaders need to know about the MPFS final rule

by Erin Lane November 9, 2015

This blog has been updated to reflect the correction in Medicare Lung Cancer Screening RVUs and reimbursement.

Last Friday, October 30, CMS released its final rule for the calendar year (CY) 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), which governs payment policy for independent physician practices, professional payments, and select other health care services.

This year’s rule is somewhat unique in that CMS needed to incorporate elements of newly passed legislation, including the 2014 Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), particularly relevant to imaging, and the recent 2015 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which permanently repealed the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.

We’ve analyzed the final rule and identified the seven key takeaways imaging leaders need to know.

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Preparing for CDS: Help physicians make better decisions

by Solomon Banjo March 30, 2015

The Daily Briefing recently covered a Medscape Medical News article discussing the challenge of differentiating between "careful" and "defensive" medicine. This challenge is most acutely felt in the ED where doctors often don’t have relationships with patients and therefore lack the clinical information necessary for optimal care.

According to the U.S. Congress of Technology Assessment, "defensive medicine" is defined as physicians ordering tests, procedures, or visits, or avoiding high-risk patients or procedures "primarily (but not necessarily solely) to reduce their exposure to malpractice liability.” Unsurprisingly, defensive medicine is expensive and has contributed significantly to the rise in health care spending—but experts say it’s hard to draw a line between being appropriately cautious and overly aggressive.

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Poll results: Should radiologists talk to patients?

by Ben Lauing January 20, 2015

In my blog post last month, I discussed the pros and cons of having radiologists consult directly with patients. I also posed a question: do yours?

77 people responded to my quick poll, from a wide array of institutions. Keep reading to find out what they said.

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Why you should think twice about the Medicare Imaging Demonstration

by Erin Lane January 13, 2015

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about the effectiveness of using clinical decision support (CDS) to promote appropriate ordering of advanced imaging exams—especially since RAND released the results of the Medicare Imaging Demonstration (MID) late last year. The demonstration was a CDS pilot program designed by CMS—and the results weren’t encouraging.

But we need to understand more about the study before we jump to conclusions based on what’s been the news. Significant flaws in the design and limitations in methodology impact how we should interpret these results.

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Should radiologists talk to patients?

by Ben Lauing December 4, 2014

Last week, I came across an article in The New York Times, in which author Gina Kolata adds another voice to the ongoing conversation about whether or not radiologists should be directly consulting patients.

While opinions on this question run the spectrum, experts seem to agree that, at the very least, radiologists need to become more accessible.

What do you think: Should patient consultations be part of radiologists' accessibility strategy?

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Virtual second opinion website appeals to patient preferences

by Solomon Banjo November 14, 2014

In the final rule released in October 2014, CMS decided against reimbursement for secondary interpretations of images, but despite this development, some have been using the second opinion concept to appeal to patient preferences.

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How to write radiology reports that patients can understand

by Sarah Hostetter October 7, 2014

As health care trends towards transparency and patient-centered care, patients are receiving more direct access to their medical records, including radiology reports.

In response, some radiologists are advocating for reports that are directed to and easily accessible by patients, which can have benefits not only for patients, but also for radiologists, radiology departments and even entire health systems.

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