Imaging Leaders Digital Community
Health Affairs: Healthcare slowdown is saving U.S. money
May 6, 2013 -- The recent slowdown in the growth of healthcare costs in the U.S. could be a sign of long-term trends rather than a result of the recession, according to a new research paper in Health Affairs. If the hypothesis is correct, it could mean that the U.S. could save as much as $770 billion in Medicare spending over the next 10 years.
JACR: Radiology 'citizenship' key to specialty's health
May 2, 2013 -- Saying it's time for radiologists to give back, a new article in the Journal of the American College of Radiology calls on medical imaging professionals to recognize their responsibility to protect their specialty. The authors believe this concept of "citizenship" is key to defending radiology against future threats.
MICI Q2: Confidence low in Medicare payment rates
April 30, 2013 -- Radiology administrators are confident that their internal costs will remain constant and their practices will maintain or increase growth in the coming months, according to Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI) data. But they're not so sure they'll receive adequate reimbursement from Medicare for diagnostic and interventional imaging.
Mary's Musings: An x-ray jacket -- the radiology wiki that was
April 29, 2013 -- Mornings were rough, but Sylvia was right there with a cup of coffee, just the way I liked it. That was pretty special, a mark of importance, because she didn't bring coffee to just anyone -- after all, she was the linchpin of the radiology department. Why? She ran the file room.
ARRS: Take care in setting up peer-review programs
April 16, 2013 -- WASHINGTON, DC - Most radiologists polled in a recent survey agree that peer review is an important component of any quality assurance initiative. But most would rather see peer review conducted anonymously, according to a study presented Monday at the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) annual meeting.
President's 2014 budget takes on self-referral
April 11, 2013 -- In its 2014 budget plan released April 10, the Obama administration has directly targeted self-referral, proposing that certain imaging services be excluded from the in-office ancillary services exception to the federal Stark law. Unfortunately, the budget also proposes prior authorization for imaging services.
Higher credentials needed to change sonographers' image, pay
April 10, 2013 -- NEW YORK CITY - To many, sonographers are just ultrasound techs -- with their sophisticated skills underappreciated, undervalued, and underpaid. It's important for the profession to work to make changes. This was the wake-up call delivered during a presentation at this week's American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine annual meeting.
JACR: Work efficiencies slim when scans read by different rads
April 10, 2013 -- Little to no physician work efficiencies exist when different providers interpret different imaging scans on the same patient, according to a new study published online April 9 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR).
JACR: MRI use has slowed
April 8, 2013 -- The overall Medicare MRI utilization rate has slowed since 2008, due in part to policymakers' focus on reducing unnecessary healthcare costs -- and radiologists' efforts to educate their colleagues on appropriate imaging use, according to a new study published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
Imaging centers hit with surprise 30% cut for MRI codes
April 5, 2013 -- The American Taxpayer Relief Act in January averted the planned 26.5% cut to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, but it didn't prevent reimbursement for two "bread and butter" MRI codes from being slashed by 30%. Some freestanding imaging centers are only now becoming painfully aware of the cut.
RF ablation for elderly NSCLC patients offers cost benefits
April 5, 2013 -- Radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a practical treatment for elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who are poor candidates for surgery, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.
Massive Gamma Knife payment cut starts April 1
April 1, 2013 -- It may seem like an April Fools' Day joke, but it's a painful reality for users of the Gamma Knife radiation therapy system from Elekta. Starting April 1, they will be paid 58% less for procedures performed with the system.
New Texas radiation rule takes effect May 1
March 28, 2013 -- Hoping to avoid the rash of radiation overexposures that shook California radiology like an earthquake a few years back, the state of Texas has decided to implement its own radiation exposure rule beginning May 1.
NCBC: Breast centers must reach out to survive
March 25, 2013 -- How can breast centers navigate the shifting landscape of healthcare reform, reimbursement pressure, and evidence-based medicine? By reaching out to form patient care teams with other providers and tracking performance, according to a March 24 talk at the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC) meeting in Las Vegas.
Managing CT dose is feasible, with a little help from friends
March 22, 2013 -- In light of heightened public awareness about the need to lower CT radiation dose, more radiology practices are tackling the issue. They can learn from the example of a community hospital in Connecticut, which implemented a successful dose reduction program as described in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
MedPAC: Imaging volume drops, but long-term growth is high
March 15, 2013 -- Imaging volume per Medicare beneficiary fell by 1% from 2010 to 2011, but the decline represents just a small part of the overall rapid growth of imaging procedures over the past decade, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's (MedPAC) annual report to Congress.
CMS to loosen strings on oncology PET payments
March 14, 2013 -- In a move that should make PET reimbursement easier for most oncology applications, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this week proposed removing its longstanding requirement that FDG-PET scans of patients with solid tumors be reported to a national data registry.
ONC chief Mostashari believes data can fix U.S. healthcare
March 14, 2013 -- Intelligent use of data can fix a broken healthcare system, said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, national coordinator for health IT within the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator (ONC). Mostashari delivered the final keynote address of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society meeting last week in New Orleans.
Carville, Rove share competing visions for U.S. healthcare
March 13, 2013 -- As might be expected, political consultants James Carville and Karl Rove found little to agree on during a debate at last week's Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) meeting. However, they did offer an intelligent and surprisingly civil discussion that illuminated the U.S. healthcare dilemma.
High-field MRI exposure linked to techs' depression
March 11, 2013 -- VIENNA - As MRI continues to advance to greater magnet strengths to uncover mysteries in the body, researchers warned on Monday at ECR 2013 that constant exposure to high-field systems could lead to psychological problems such as clinical depression among MRI technologists.
HIMSS: Mobile devices raise thorny legal issues in healthcare
March 7, 2013 -- NEW ORLEANS - The use of mobile devices in healthcare environments offers unique security challenges, and institutions must implement and -- most importantly -- enforce policies regarding their use to mitigate legal risk, according to a Wednesday presentation at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) meeting.
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