February 24, 2017

CMS Officials Share SAMMIE Award Honors With ACR

Credited with programs that have saved 87,000 lives and nearly $20 billion, the three Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officials who were recently presented prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America (SAMMIE) Awards are sharing the honor with their partners at the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Paul McGann, MD, Jean Moody-Williams and Dennis Wagner, all with the CMS Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, received their SAMMIEs Dec. 13 at the annual CMS Quality Conference in Baltimore.

The ACR and other contributing organizations were also recognized at the event, and the ACR was singled out in a Feb. 15 letter from the honorees. They emphasized the importance of the ACR’s Penny Butler, senior director of quality and safety — special projects Judy Burleson, senior director of quality management programs, and Nancy Fredericks, director of the Radiology Support Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCAN), to their achievements.

Pictured with the SAMMIE award are Penny Butler (left) and Judy Burleson

Ever since your initial involvement … to catalyze a cohort of our Hospital Engagement Networks (HENs, now called HIINs) around undue exposure to radiation, we have seen a prominent shift in the attitudes and attention of our partners toward treating these errors with higher urgency and careful intervention,” they wrote. “Significant progress has been made since that day, and the resources, tools and presentations you have contributed to our networks have spread throughout the nation.”

The ACR’s initial presentation to the HENs and one of CMS’s Medical Quality Improvement Organizations (QIO) in 2014 introduced participants to features of patient radiation optimization and quality programs the College either created or helped develop. A radiation optimization webinar that Butler and Burleson geared to hospitals administrators and clinicians at facilities affiliated with the Washington State Hospital Association, for example, informed them about the diagnostic and therapeutic applications of ionizing radiation, safety concerns and recommended precautions for their use.

Butler and Burleson also encouraged participation in Image Gently, Image Wisely and the ACR Dose Index Registry as well as ACR Appropriateness Criteria use.

Overall, the Image Gently program has drawn nearly 54,000 pledges from clinicians to take recommended steps to minimize pediatric patient exposure to ionizing radiation. Image Wisely recorded more than 54,000 pledges by the end of 2016. About 1760 hospital and outpatient imaging facilities have contributed close to 40 million exams to the ACR Dose Index Registry since its inception in 2009. Metrics from database enable imaging services to compare their radiation dosages against national, regional and peer group benchmarks.

Separately, along with Max Wintermark, MD, an R-SCAN clinical adviser, Fredericks presented a webinar on R-SCAN as collaboration between radiologists and ordering physicians that avoids inappropriate imaging use, with the byproduct of lowered medical costs and reduced radiation exposures.

CMS has prepared an identical copy of the SAMMIE Award plaque for the ACR team of Burleson, Butler and Fredericks. ACR CEO William T. Thorwarth, Jr., MD, FACR announced it should be displayed in the showcase in the Neiman Discovery Room at ACR headquarters in Reston, VA.