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Frequent interruptions bedevil on-call radiologists
May 15, 2014 -- On-call radiologists are constantly interrupted by phone calls and other requests, to such a degree that these interruptions could be distracting them from their primary job of interpreting images, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
Outpatient echo code bundling has unintended effects
May 15, 2014 -- When Medicare began code bundling for echocardiography scans in 2009, the move produced a sharp drop in outpatient claims from cardiologists -- which was expected. But the success of code bundling could have unintended effects for both echocardiography and other imaging exams, according to a study in the May Journal of the American College of Radiology.
JAMA IM: Imaging lands high on list of low-value procedures
May 13, 2014 -- A new list of 26 low-value medical procedures published in JAMA Internal Medicine includes a dozen imaging exams. The exams -- defined as procedures that cost a lot of money without yielding significant benefits -- could be costing Medicare as much as $8.5 billion a year, according to the authors.
CT lung screening meeting: A travesty of public health policy
May 8, 2014 -- In retrospect, last week's negative vote by a Medicare panel against CT lung cancer screening is perhaps no surprise given the various conflicts of interest found among many members of the panel, according to Dr. Frederic W. Grannis Jr. Grannis attended the meeting and said he was stunned by the experience.
ARRS: Do patients really want to talk to radiologists?
May 6, 2014 -- SAN DIEGO - As a specialty, radiology is fighting to become more visible, and one solution is for radiologists to communicate exam results directly to patients. But is this really what patients want? That question was explored at this week's American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) annual meeting.
Medicare panel raises doubts about CT lung cancer screening
May 1, 2014 -- Members of a Medicare advisory panel expressed a range of doubts about the benefits of CT lung cancer screening in a meeting on April 30 in Baltimore, giving screening low confidence scores. The question now becomes how the mostly negative panel meeting will shape the debate about Medicare reimbursement over the next six months.
MEDCAC panel shows low confidence in CT lung screening
April 30, 2014 -- CT lung cancer screening for high-risk individuals in the Medicare program received a vote of low confidence by a panel of medical experts meeting in Baltimore today. The vote seriously weakens the case for establishing Medicare payment for low-dose CT lung cancer screening.
Radiologists hit hard by CT code bundling
April 29, 2014 -- When reimbursement codes for CT of the abdomen and pelvis were bundled in 2011, there was a dramatic 29% reduction in imaging payments for these procedures, according to a study in the May American Journal of Roentgenology. Radiologists were the most affected, concluded Dr. David C. Levin and colleagues from Thomas Jefferson University.
CAR: Canadian radiologists should champion appropriate imaging
April 29, 2014 -- MONTREAL - Championing a cause such as appropriateness in imaging is a way for Canadian radiologists to improve their visibility as a profession, as well as protect their turf, said the immediate past president of the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) at the society's annual meeting last week.
Radiology's top tweeters: Dr. James Rawson
April 25, 2014 -- Our series on the top tweeters in radiology continues with a profile of Dr. James Rawson, also known on Twitter as @Jim_Rawson_MD. With nearly 1,600 followers, Rawson ranks in radiology's top five -- although if you ask him about it, he might not care, as securing a rabid following isn't his goal in the social media world.
GAO releases report on effect of imaging accreditation
April 25, 2014 -- The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and various congressional committees outlining the impact that Medicare imaging accreditation has had on access to advanced diagnostic imaging. The bottom line? It's not clear.
Researchers turn to technologists for better clinical histories
April 11, 2014 -- Researchers from Ohio were able to dramatically improve the clinical histories submitted with patient images by turning to radiologic technologists, who provided far more detailed -- and useful -- histories than referring physicians. The researchers believe the more complete histories will lead to better image interpretation.
Is there a silver lining to the 2014 SGR patch?
April 10, 2014 -- The latest effort to avert cuts to Medicare physician payments mandated by the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula may be another in a long line of temporary fixes, but it also represents a victory for radiology, with language mandating the use of appropriateness criteria, transparency around payment policy, and radiation dose management.
Radiology ranks No. 7 of Medicare highest-paid specialties
April 10, 2014 -- Well, it could have been worse. Radiology ranked seventh of the top 10 medical specialties that received the most in Medicare payments in 2012, based on data released April 9 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Mary's Musings: Radiologists must rule professional evaluation
April 7, 2014 -- Physician performance evaluation is moving from a nice-to-have option to a necessity, thanks to Joint Commission rules being adopted across the U.S. Dr. Mary Morrison Saltz believes this is a good time for radiologists to take control of the evaluation process -- before someone does it for them.
Long-term fix dead, Senate passes 1-year SGR patch
April 1, 2014 -- With hopes dashed for a permanent fix, on March 31 the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 64 to 35, cleared legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to implement a 12-month patch to stave off cuts mandated by the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, set to go into effect April 1.
House introduces yet another SGR patch
March 26, 2014 -- With bipartisan efforts stalled for a permanent repeal of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, two committees in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced yet another patch that would avert cuts to Medicare reimbursement mandated by the SGR.
JAMA: Nuclear MPI use in Kaiser system falls dramatically
March 25, 2014 -- The use of nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) dropped by half from 2006 to 2011 within a Kaiser Permanente healthcare system in California, but researchers can't quite point to specific reasons for the decline, according to a study published in the March 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
NCoBC: Breast cancer screening requires difficult choices
March 24, 2014 -- It can be tough to run a breast care center as controversy swirls around the effectiveness of screening mammography. No matter where a facility falls in the debate, putting together a screening program demands hard choices, according to a presentation at the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCoBC) meeting in Las Vegas.
VA probe clears Fla. health system of whistleblower charges
March 21, 2014 -- An investigation into complaints about medical imaging services at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system serving northern Florida and southern Georgia has been resolved without any major irregularities discovered, and the VA has closed the case without taking any action.
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