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Radiologists—especially those working at teaching hospitals—see some of the country’s most clinically complex Medicare patients, according to a report published in the February edition of Academic Radiology.

When the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) passed, CMS established two ways for physicians to be rewarded for providing high-value care through a Quality Payment Program (QPP): the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and advanced alternative payment models. Since the beginning, physicians have been able to participate in MIPS as an individual or as a group—but now they can also participate as a virtual group.

The FDA authorized U.S. marketing of the first blood test with the ability to evaluate concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), in adults, the agency announced in a statement Wednesday.

In addition to routine follow-up phone calls, clinicians are obligated to provide women with a written summary of mammography reports once their results become available, the FDA wrote in its most recent update on the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA).

Kentucky expanded Medicaid coverage in 2014, taking its cue from the Affordable Care Act and including individuals and families with incomes up to 33 percent above the federal poverty line. The state’s uninsured rate dropped from 19 percent to 7 percent as a result. According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, the move also improved the quality of breast cancer care.

 

Recent Headlines

Legislation could modernize FDA regulations on imaging devices, contrast

Imaging advocacy groups have lined up to support a bill providing medical imaging device and contrast drug manufacturers a clear regulatory pathway, speeding the bench-to-bedside transition.

EU reconsiders pulling gadolinium contrast agents from market

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will re-examine its decision to pull several gadolinium contrast agents from the European single market following requests from gadolinium producers.

Imaging growth leveling off due to reimbursement cuts, changes in ordering

The dramatic growth in imaging utilization experienced at the beginning of the millennium has mostly leveled off, according to a study published in Health Affairs, primarily due to major cuts to reimbursement and more careful ordering of noninvasive exams.

No need to panic over talk of cutting essential health benefits, including low-cost preventative screening

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s essential health benefits are now on the chopping block to entice the more conservative members of the House into supporting the American Health Care Act, losing the requirement that insurers cover preventative cancer screening isn’t a foregone conclusion.

MedPAC recommendations get it wrong on imaging, says MITA

The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) said the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s (MedPAC) March 2017 report to Congress misrepresents the growth in imaging utilization, a criticism consistently levied by imaging advocates against MedPAC over the past decade.

EU pulls gadolinium contrast agents over deposition concerns

The medical regulatory body of the European Union (EU) recommended four gadolinium contrast agents be pulled from the market because of concerns about gadolinium deposition in the brain. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) suspended the marketing authorizations for the four agents after a review by its risk assessment committee.

What the ACA replacement means for radiology

The ACA replacement bill appears to leave intact pieces of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) beneficial to radiologists, namely the expansion of preventative cancer screening. While it’s an encouraging sign, the tri-part repeal-and-replace process means radiologists should keep their ears to the ground, according to Chris Sherin, Director of Congressional Affairs at the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Colon cancer coalition urges lawmakers to cover virtual colonoscopy

A coalition of colorectal cancer societies and advocacy groups urged Congress to pass legislation covering CT colonography under Medicare, the latest development in a decades-long effort to increase colorectal cancer screening rates. The CT Colonography Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act (House Resolution 1298) was introduced in early March by Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, and Danny Davis, D-Illinois.

Five states pushing for mandated DBT coverage

At least five states have introduced legislation requiring insurers to cover Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography. The economic and clinical benefits of DBT are well-established, but the passage of the bills may come down the legislative climate of the individual states, according to Eugenia Brandt, Director of State Affairs for the American College of Radiology.

Op-ed: ACGME policy puts undue pressure on small radiology residency programs

An op-ed in the Journal of the American College of Radiology argues pressure to comply with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s standardization of policy for all programs creates problems for certain small radiology programs.

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