Features

Medicare recently relaxed its rules on the supervision that non-physician radiology providers must have by radiologists for their respective practices to get reimbursed. In the wake of the change, these “midlevel providers” are likely to grow in importance as well as in numbers. 

Who wouldn’t want greater consistency in radiology reports’ substance, style and actionability to referring clinicians? And yet a substantial number of radiologists have intently avoided, quietly thwarted or tacitly rejected structured reporting. They can only hold out so long. 

In 2017, some 60 percent of physicians reported being “not at all familiar” or “slightly familiar” with MACRA. A meager 8 percent said they were “very familiar” with the legislation. Two years later, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests the lack of understanding persists.

The unassailable understanding that the best way to stop Alzheimer’s disease is to diagnose it early gives radiology a strategically pivotal role now that drug companies are balking over reseahing and developing treatments. 

Occupational deregulation may be advisable for some occupations, but if states decide to abolish licensure for radiologic technologists, patients may be put in serious potential danger.

The terms “AI” and “machine learning” appear early and often on the agenda for SIIM19, which rolls into Denver the last week of June. The heavy dose of AI-related tech talk is no surprise, given the fast and steady interest in these technologies evidenced by imaging informaticists in medicine.

Radiologists are often part of multispecialty groups that participate in a Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO. As a result, many radiologists are in these ACOs often without even realizing it.

Publishing direct-to-consumer pricing would allow competitive comparison of real rates. In radiology, this means getting the information to patients both directly and through ordering physicians.

Has the value-based U.S. healthcare system become so focused on the bottom line that care is, in cases, getting compromised? 

A funny thing happened on the way to PaRADigm 2019, the upcoming annual meeting of the Radiology Business Management Association. Where RBMA usually draws speaking proposals from 50 or 60 potential presenters, this time nearly 90 came in. That was far more than the 42 slots allotted for breakouts, so the association will have plenty of material to pick from as it organizes webinars and other educational events over the coming months. 

If some form of practice consolidation is in your radiology practice’s present or future, you should know that many tactical errors are made around the difficulty of sharing information across disparate legacy PACS packages and other peripheral solutions used by newly conjoining practices, departments or organizations. 

More than a few malpractice suits have been advanced on easily understood emotion over hard-to-parse scientific evidence. It’s better to be cautious now than to get caught off guard later. Here’s how to prepare.