May 24, 2018

ACR 2018 Economics Forum Stresses Fair Payment and Patient-Centered Care

The perennially popular Economics Forum at the American College of Radiology (ACR) 2018 Annual Meeting May 21 in Washington, DC, kept true to course with focal points on upholding fee-for-service payments, navigating the ongoing (yet manageable) evolution of the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), as well as embracing population health-centered services.

The forum was moderated by ACR Economics Commission Chair Ezequiel Silva, MD, FACR, and addressed multiple issues facing radiology.

Kurt Schoppe, MD, ACR Advisor to the American Medical Association/Relative Value Scale Update (RUC) Committee, plainly stated the reality of radiology’s payment dilemma. “As a specialty we have transformed modern medicine, but we require a lot of capital,” he said. “We need to maintain payments and new codes.”

Gregory Nicola, MD, FACR, Chair of the ACR Committee on MACRA, said that too often with federal regulation, it feels like “[they are] measuring what we’re doing and not what we’re achieving.” When it comes down to fair payments and cost, radiologists are seemingly accountable for the whole health care system. “With more changes to reimbursement still to come from Congress, it’s important to be diligent with your reimbursement accountability efforts,” he told the audience.

Speakers reminded attendees of the College’s efforts on Capitol Hill toward reimbursement policy. The ACR has been instrumental, they said, in convincing lawmakers that radiologists are more than image interpreters when it comes to overall value in the health care delivery chain.

Andrea Borondy Kitts, MPH, a lung cancer and patient advocate, consultant and patient outreach and research specialist at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, called on ACR members to work with patients and their families during the health care process. “Working together, we can help patients understand their health conditions and become equal partners in their care,” she said.

New ACR Board of Chancellors Chair Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR also stressed the importance of making radiology more patient-centered.

“Our fundamentals are strong. We are not afraid of change. We need to tell a compelling story of why patient centered care is better care to overcome the barriers to redesigning our workflows to include patient consultations,” said McGinty.

Lauren P. Golding, MD, of Triad Radiology Associates in Winston-Salem, N.C., echoed that sentiment, suggesting that radiologists collaborate with team members outside their specialties to improve patient care. “The end destination for us is population health management and alternative payment models,” Golding said. “We can’t score goals in APMs unless we get out on the field.”

“The ACR is the voice of radiology. As the unified voice of more than 35000 radiologists, radiation oncologists and medical physicists we have power and influence. Let’s use that for the good of our patients,” said McGinty.

To learn more about key economic and legislative issues — at institutional and regional levels — addressed during this year’s gathering, contact Angela Kim, ACR senior director of economic and health affairs (AKim@acr.org) or Rebecca Spangler, ACR Director of Congressional Affairs (RSpangler@acr.org).