CMS cuts radiology a break

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a windfall, but radiologists and their practice and department administrators got a piece of very good news this week with the announcement that CMS has recognized the ACR’s National Radiology Data Registry as a so-called Qualified Clinical Data Registry. This means that not only can radiology use the NRDR to report on PQRS measures—which a great number of them appear to be doing—but they can also use the NRDR’s specialty-specific measures for PQRS reporting rather than CMS’s more generic measures and contribute to a growing body of specialty knowledge on everything from turnaround times to various cancer screening detection rates. We report on the development and what it means in this weekly news edition from

We also spoke with David Newman, PhD, JD, who has a big-data vision to aggregate 100% of public and private payor claims data in a database that will be made available in various forms to the public and researchers. Newman and his Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) made headlines earlier this month with the announcement that HCCI had convinced three national payors to open their claims data to the public for the purpose of building an online consumer tool a la that will provide cost and quality information on 300 to 400 “orderable” inpatient and outpatient episodes of care and procedures, undoubtedly to include some medical imaging procedures.

Newman has been through the public policy wars, surviving career episodes with death squads, medical malpractice and the uninsured. He has the claims data and more payors are lining up to contribute.  What he needs before going live in November with the first piece of the portal is quality data; he welcomes input from radiology on what those measures should be.  Read about it here.

If you haven’t read about the congressional committee hearing on site neutral payment policy, you may want to scan this article. There are two bills in Congress that would neutralize the “hospital premium” in various settings, so the movement could be gathering momentum as Congress seeks “pay-fors” for the SGR fix.

Cheryl Proval