Weekly roundup: Communication, court contests, cuts

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At Health Imaging, we like to think of July and August as a bit of downtime—the breather before the run-up to RSNA. That characterization may represent fantasy more than reality.

The news cycle of the last two weeks has been dominated by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Our sleuthing suggests the court battles have not yet ceased. The Independent Payment Advisory Board may be the next contest. If you missed the story the first time, you can read it at the link below .

Washington, D.C., is not the only place to witness a heated court battle. In Maui, radiologists have battled the local hospital in attempt to prevent it from awarding a contract for radiology services to a teleradiology provider. The effort proved futile when a judge lifted a temporary restraining orde r July 11.

The seemingly endless spate of reimbursement cuts continues as well. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed rule was issued July 6 updating payment policies and rates under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) for 2013. The proposal includes a 4 percent reduction in total allowed charges for radiology; 3 percent reduction in total allowed charges for nuclear medicine; 14 percent reduction in total allowed charges for radiation oncology; and 19 percent reduction in total allowed charges for radiation therapy centers.

Meanwhile, advanced diagnostic imaging continues to demonstrate its value. The first U.S. sites have rolled out florbetapir PET imaging for Alzheimer’s disease, and a recent study suggests the value of MRI for early detection of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.   

I hope that summer is treating you well. If you find a few minutes to spare, please email me and share how this news has affected your practice.

Lisa Fratt, editor