AHRA presenters talk risk, practice culture and a fresh way to think about value vs volume

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Evan Godt, Editorial Director

Radiology admins are being pulled in a million different directions, thankfully there’s plenty of resources to keep things from coming apart at the seams.

One of the best resources is the advice of colleagues going through the same struggle, and earlier this month in Chicago, the AHRA spring conference brought radiology leaders together to compare notes on the biggest challenges in imaging.

Regulations will never stop changing, and a big one to grapple with recently is the XR-29 radiation dose standard, which Sheila Sferrella, Regent Health Resources senior vice president and former AHRA president, discussed at the meeting. As expected, sites are scrambling to comply and few are going about it the same way. When asked how they are applying the CT modifier if they were not compliant, surveyed facilities said everything from “coders” to “finance” to “IT”, with less than 20 percent using a completely automated strategy.

Another topic of discussion was how to connect with customers by laying the groundwork with a positive practice culture. Toby Edwards, CRA, director of imaging services at Lake Wales Medical Center in Lake Wales, Fla., said it’s essential to quantify your practice’s culture and then have applicants affirm those values.

“I like to hire qualified applicants that have a positive, sunny disposition,” said Edwards. “I like to see lots of smiles from an applicant. I firmly believe in hiring the person, not the skills they possess. With concentrated effort any technologist can improve and, with time, experience increases, but an unhappy person or someone who does not enjoy serving the sick cannot be helped with educational modules or conferences.”

And of course, the ubiquitous focus on the shift from volume- to value-based care was a big talking point, but Jason Theadore, MHA, vice president of ambulatory services and business development at Mercy Health in Toledo, Ohio, had a fresh—and pragmatic—take on the issue. While boosting value has been the focus over the last decade, sites will still need to maintain volumes.

“Like any business, we have to stay focused on understanding how we are going to continue to grow,” said Theadore. “So it’s really not transitioning from volume to value. It’s transitioning from fee-based to value-based and then going out to get more volume, to grow your market share.”

Read up on these presentations and others from the recent conference. When feeling the weight of regulation or a changing market, your colleagues and others meeting those same challenges can help see you through.

-Evan Godt
Editorial Director