Radiologists to give reality check on changing payment models

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 - Richard Duszak Jr., MD
Richard Duszak Jr., MD

Confused by recent payment model reform? At RSNA 2016, three practicing radiologists are scheduled to deliver a presentation all about the evolving financial landscape of medical imaging.

The session, “Payment Reform and Getting Paid: A Focus on Value Activities and Metrics,” will take place on Thursday, Dec. 1. Presenters are Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, a diagnostic radiologist at Weill Cornell Imaging at New York Presbyterian; Richard Duszak Jr., MD, the vice chair for health policy and imaging sciences in the department of radiology and imaging sciences at Emory University’s School of Medicine in Atlanta; and Giles W. Boland, MD, a radiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“This is a health policy and practice management refresher course,” Duszak said in an interview with Health Imaging. “The goal is to provide information that’s going to be useful for physician practice leaders and administrators to do appropriate strategic planning that they are going to need to take to be most successful under new payment models.”

Each speaker will focus on a specific aspect of radiology finance. McGinty will discuss how radiologists can align their priorities with those of patients and other stakeholders, while Boland will provide information on value chains, specifically looking at dictations, ordering patterns and patient wait times.

Duszak says he will wrap up the session by discussing initiatives from the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, a research organization within the American College of Radiology (ACR) that examines payment systems. Duszak will be instructing radiologists on how to collect payments for services outside of conventional systems, specifically giving tips for navigating bundled payments.

Since issues in leadership, health policy and practice management are prominent themes in this year’s RSNA sessions, Duszak and his team decided these topics would resonate with attendees.

“It’s a pretty ambitious agenda,” said Duszak, who’s been attending RSNA since 1998. “It’s going to be a mix of high level and practical information for the people who really want to start rolling up their sleeves right away.”

The session will also address how radiologists can be more available to patients, considering many practices have offered little face-to-face contact with patients in the past. The presenters will look at how that contact affects patient outcomes, an area that has been challenging in the imaging sector.

“Most of us as diagnostic radiologists are in a situation where somebody else is driving that patient’s overall care and we’re just one piece that pops up in there,” Duszak said. “How do you attribute outcomes back in these complex patients where there may be a radiologist, pathologist, and surgeon involved? Who gets the credit or the penalty for either a good or bad outcome respectively?”

To help provide guidance on outcome challenges, the speakers will also explain how radiologists can implement practice changes that align with Imaging 3.0, an ACR program that helps them shape the future of their industry.

“The role of this session is to define the new healthcare reality,” Duszak said. “Don’t put your head in the sand. Things are changing.”