The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute (HPI) will examine the role of radiology in evolving health care delivery and payment models — particularly quality based approaches to radiologic care and the impact of medical imaging on overall health care costs. Specifically – HPI will conduct research regarding medical imaging use, quality and safety metrics, and human resources as medicine moves toward non-traditional value-based reimbursement and delivery. Data gleaned from these efforts will serve as the basis for evidence-based medical imaging policy options.
Much of the existing utilization data used by policymakers are out of date. Imaging use in Medicare is down since 2008. Medicare spending on scans is the same now as it was in 2003. Imaging is also the slowest growing of all physician services among privately insured Americans according to the Health Care Cost Institute. Yet, policymakers continue to rely on obsolete and incomplete data to make decisions that impact all Americans.
Also, much of the existing research regarding radiology policy focuses solely on cost and utilization of imaging as standalone end points. This is an incomplete approach. At present, lawmakers and regulators are making policy decisions about medical imaging without knowing the full effects on individual patients or the health care system as a whole. The Institute can provide this much needed information and help ensure that future imaging policies benefit patients and make efficient and effective use of health care resources.
Various studies show that imaging exams are directly linked to greater life expectancy, and for many indications, declines in mortality rates. Scans are also safer and less expensive than many of the invasive procedures that they now replace. For many serious indications, imaging exams reduce the number of invasive surgeries, unnecessary hospital admissions and length of hospital stays. The overall quality, safety and financial impact of these successes against primary diseases, injuries and illnesses, and the role that radiologists and radiology will serve in new models of care have yet to be thoroughly explored. That is what the Institute will do.
Dr. Harvey Neiman is an outstanding physician, effective leader and respected medical scholar who has dedicated his professional career to improving patient care. He is one of the leading minds in medicine regarding radiology and medical imaging policy and economics. The ACR is proud to name this research institute for such a distinguished colleague.
Radiologists are being asked/required to participate in alternative payment models without data to ascertain their appropriate share of such payments and without knowledge of how to function appropriately in these non-traditional environments. The information needed to respond to the challenges posed is not currently available. The Institute would help all stakeholders understand the “value of radiology” and its role in the healthcare continuum.
The Institute will provide accurate data to lawmakers, regulators and payers to help them make informed policy decisions that actually improve care and make it more efficient – rather than rely on current subjective, arbitrary, and blind cost-cutting. The Institute will provide radiologists with data helpful in interactions with payers, hospitals and ACOs for capitation contracts and/or bundled episodes of care or other novel payment systems.