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Hillman: Radiology is a victim of its own success
September 20, 2012 -- Radiology is experiencing a backlash among policymakers and other physicians that could threaten its future -- a backlash that's based in large part on its own success, said Dr. Bruce Hillman in a September 20 presentation at RADExpo 2012: The Cutting Edge of Imaging, a virtual conference from AuntMinnie.com.
Mary's Musings: Let's get real with radiology peer review
September 19, 2012 -- When I survived the trip to Louisville and actually passed my radiology boards, I had crossed a milestone and never had to return -- except for a mint julep or two. But that's no longer the case, and most radiologists have to renew their certification every 10 years. Should we embrace or reject this new requirement?
Big iron may not be big driver of healthcare costs
September 17, 2012 -- A new analysis of growth in healthcare costs at U.S. hospitals found that medical imaging technology accounted for only 5% of the growth in healthcare expenses, an amount that was dwarfed by the increasing cost of medical supplies, according to an article in Health Services Research.
A rocky road awaits radiologists during Obamacare rollout
September 11, 2012 -- SAN FRANCISCO - Higher taxes, lower reimbursement, and more federal control over the use of advanced imaging in clinical practice. Dr. Frank J. Lexa used these terms to describe a dark vision of radiology after healthcare reform at the 2012 California Radiological Society annual meeting.
Imaging use in Medicare is down, but will the feds take heed?
September 4, 2012 -- Medicare payments for noninvasive diagnostic imaging exams are down 21% compared with their peak in 2006, reports a new study in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology. But are federal policymakers paying attention?
Feds charge imaging center owner with $30M Medicare fraud
August 31, 2012 -- The owner of a radiology practice in New York City has been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with fraudulent billing of more than $30 million in radiology services provided to Medicare and Medicaid patients that allegedly were never performed.
Pitt. radiologists take back the night -- and reap the rewards
August 29, 2012 -- In 2007, University of Pittsburgh radiologists decided that using residents for overnight coverage of emergency department CT scans was a medical anachronism. Instead, they began offering after-hours subspecialty coverage themselves, and reported on their experience in the September issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.
Commercial screening tests, imaging overuse spike health costs
August 28, 2012 -- Screening tests that are sold directly to consumers by commercial firms without physician referrals inflate healthcare costs and erode efforts to provide high-value care -- and medical imaging is a big part of the problem, according to a pair of opinion articles published on August 27 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Simple procedures are keys to success of proton facilities
August 28, 2012 -- The use of proton therapy for prostate cancer patients is highly controversial because its high cost compared to other radiation therapy treatments has not been justified by superior patient outcomes. However, prostate cancer patients are essential for a proton therapy center's financial well-being.
Report leads Univ. of Iowa to fire nuclear medicine physician
August 24, 2012 -- The University of Iowa has terminated the employment of Dr. Malik Juweid, a nuclear medicine physician who has been embroiled in a personnel dispute with the university's department of radiology. Juweid's termination came after a report that detailed what investigators called a pattern of disruptive behavior at the university.
Breast tomosynthesis: If you build it, they will come
August 23, 2012 -- Digital breast tomosynthesis isn't in the experimental phase anymore -- it's now beginning to help practices build volume and reduce recall rates, according to a presentation given last week at the annual AHRA meeting in Orlando, FL.
Radiation therapy fights back against proposed Medicare cuts
August 16, 2012 -- Few radiation oncology practices were prepared when the federal government proposed double-digit cuts in Medicare reimbursement in July. But the specialty's defenders are mobilizing to fight back with a major line of attack on the methodology used to justify the payment changes.
AHRA: Foreseeing radiology's future -- 8 trends to watch
August 15, 2012 -- Radiology is undergoing a major shift in how it is practiced. In this rapidly changing healthcare environment, radiologists need to closely watch the emerging trends that are influencing their field, according to a presentation by Dr. Lawrence Muroff at the AHRA 2012 meeting in Orlando, FL.
Does urologist self-referral force patients to travel for IMRT?
August 15, 2012 -- Men in Texas may be driving more than three times farther than necessary to receive intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for prostate cancer if they are being treated at a urology practice that owns its own IMRT equipment, researchers reported on Wednesday in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.
AHRA: Uncertainty looms as feds implement healthcare reform
August 14, 2012 -- In the years since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed, U.S. regulators have continued to write rules implementing the law. In such a fluid healthcare environment, it can be difficult for radiology practices to stay on top of the changes, according to a presentation at the AHRA 2012 meeting.
CMS report finds fault with Exeter Hospital procedures
August 10, 2012 -- Federal investigators inspecting the New Hampshire hospital at the center of an outbreak of hepatitis C infections found a number of violations of healthcare rules, with infractions including a staff member with weeping sores working in a patient care area, according to a new report.
Were warning signs missed in traveling technologist case?
August 9, 2012 -- When radiologic technologist David Kwiatkowski was found unconscious on the bathroom floor of an Arizona hospital in 2010, allegedly with a syringe of fentanyl at his side, he lost his job and his state licensure. So how was Kwiatkowski able to go on to work at hospitals in other states, potentially exposing thousands of patients to hepatitis C?
HCA slammed for unnecessary cath procedures
August 7, 2012 -- The largest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S. is under fire for performing thousands of cardiac catheterization procedures that were medically unnecessary, according to an August 6 article in the New York Times.
MetisMD offers radiology 2nd opinions directly to patients
August 3, 2012 -- A new company based in Chicago, MetisMD, is bridging the radiologist-patient divide by offering second-opinion services to the public. But does providing such service actually expand opportunities for radiologists, or does it contribute to the erosion of radiology's autonomy?
Imaging use rises for terminally ill Medicare cancer patients
July 30, 2012 -- A new study published online July 30 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute indicates that the use of advanced imaging is growing faster among patients with stage IV cancer than it is among patients with earlier stages of disease. The findings could mean that imaging is being overused in terminally ill patients.
Health Affairs: Imaging growth slowed sharply starting in 2006
July 25, 2012 -- The growth of advanced diagnostic imaging in Medicare patients slowed to single-digit rates starting in 2006, a trend that has extended to private payors, according to a study from the August issue of Health Affairs, published online July 25. The study confirms other recent research documenting imaging's slowdown.
Cardiac cath technologist charged in hepatitis C infections
July 24, 2012 -- Federal authorities in New Hampshire have charged a traveling cardiac cath technologist with infecting patients with hepatitis C after he allegedly stole syringes containing fentanyl and replaced the dirty needles with saline solution. The case has authorities fearing an outbreak of hepatitis C in more than half a dozen states.
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