UnitedHealth Group works with ACR, IAC to broaden imaging access

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Minneapolis, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group announced a new, nationwide quality improvement initiative to broaden and improve access to imaging services by consumers. The “UnitedHealthcare Imaging Accreditation Program” is based on the expertise and accreditation standards jointly developed by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the over 22 sponsoring organizations of the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC).

Under the program, UnitedHealth Group will enlist the expertise of the ACR and IAC in facilitating accreditation for its network of contracted imaging physicians.

“Diagnostic imaging, when performed in high-quality and safe centers, is critical to optimal medical care outcomes,” said Reed V. Tuckson, MD, executive vice president and chief of medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “We recognize and respect the accreditation expertise of the ACR and the IAC, and we are convinced that our customers deserve to receive care from accredited facilities.  As such, we take this opportunity to strongly encourage all UnitedHealthcare participating imaging physicians to immediately take the steps necessary to become accredited.  It’s the right thing to do.”

 The “UnitedHealthcare Imaging Accreditation Program” program focuses on CT, CT angiography, MRI, MR angiography, nuclear medicine/cardiology, PET, and echocardiography services that are performed in freestanding outpatient facilities and physician offices. These imaging procedures are widely used by physicians as important tools in the diagnosis and evaluation of a wide variety of medical conditions, UnitedHealth Group said.

Arl Van Moore, Jr., MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, stated that “accreditation assesses the overall quality of a practice, including personnel, equipment, quality assurance (QA) activities, and ultimately the quality of patient care.  Accreditation is an opportunity for providers and facilities to demonstrate to patients and referring physicians that they are committed to providing the highest quality care.”

And according to Gary V. Heller, MD, associate director of the Division of Cardiology, director of the Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory at the Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and president of the IAC, “Participating in the process of accreditation provides imaging facilities, regardless of modality, an opportunity to conduct an extensive evaluation of every aspect of daily operation.  This in-depth assessment, combined with a detailed peer review, is extremely beneficial to laboratories as they strive to improve the quality of care they are able to provide patients.”