ACR worries value-based initiatives are ignoring radiologists’ care coordination skills

The American College of Radiology is concerned that federal value-based care initiatives are overlooking the specialty’s skills at coordinating care, leaders shared recently.

A federal contractor is currently working to gather input on the possible development of new measures under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System. And Burlingame, California-based Acumen is seeking feedback from the field on behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

ACR said it supports the process, but is seeking changes, CEO William Thorwarth Jr., MD, wrote in comments submitted Feb. 5. Previous MIPS quality measures have not typically been attributed to radiology groups, as they were meant to assess imaging costs, rather than radiologic care.

“A significant challenge that radiologists confront is a lack of opportunity to be recognized for care coordination and the inability to be rewarded for team-based care led by radiologists,” he wrote to Acumen. “We hope that the potential areas of future cost measure development that we have outlined may increase radiologists’ opportunities to participate in value-based care.”

Thorwarth noted that care provided by rads doesn’t quite fit into the traditional episode framework. He urged Acumen and CMS to consider developing cost measures that connect with existing quality topics, including incidental imaging findings or breast cancer screening.

The group could potentially create an episode-based measure tracking screening mammography to cancer diagnosis. The cost window for this episode could potentially last a year and would be entirely under a radiologist’s control, he noted. Breast imaging physicians already have well-established quality metrics used for auditing their own practices and MIPS had previously included measures tied to cancer detection, recall rates and true/false positives, he added.

You can read the entire letter to Acumen here and a Feb. 9 news update from the college with further information here.