May 28, 2020

ACR Medicaid Network Discusses COVID-19 Impacts

Covering issues as diverse as a prior authorization suspension to enrollment expansion, the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Medicaid Network met earlier this month to discuss various ways the COVID-19 pandemic impacts Medicaid and medical imaging services covered by the government healthcare program.

In his final meeting as ACR Medicaid Network chair, Raymond Tu, MD, MS, FACR, focused on the pandemic’s effect on Medicaid beneficiaries in the Washington, DC area. Dr. Tu highlighted the 1135 waiver, which allowed the District of Columbia to temporarily suspend Medicaid’s fee-for-service prior authorization requirement. Tu also described how the Washington Convention Center was converted into a 500-bed alternate care site for COVID-19 treatment.

Incoming ACR Medicaid Network chair Neil C. Davey, MD, FACR, shifted discussion to the growth of medical imaging in Idaho since the state’s voters approved Proposition 2, which expanded Medicaid eligibility to residents with annual household incomes of up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level. More than 74,000 people have gained healthcare coverage in Idaho since Medicaid expansion was implemented in Idaho in January 2020. Imaging utilization has increased at all sites of care, he said.

Dr. Davey also predicted the likely growth of Medicaid enrollment across the nation by June from the estimated seven million American workers who will lose their jobs and employee-sponsored healthcare coverage because of the coronavirus pandemic. Following Davey’s presentation, discussion shifted again to consider pediatric vaccination, telemedicine expansion and variations in Medicaid reimbursement among the states.

As ACR Medicaid Network chair since 2012, Dr. Tu provided outstanding leadership by recruiting volunteers to extend the network’s reach to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Dr. Tu and network members established a nationwide monitoring system and relationships with large Medicaid managed care organizations, enabling the ACR to track and appropriately respond to local Medicaid coverage and payment policies. Dr. Tu will remain an engaged ACR member.

If interested in joining the Medicaid Network or learning more about its mission and work, please email Alicia Blakey at ablakey@acr.org or Christina Berry at cberry@acr.org.