Weekly Roundup: Stage 2, Isaac & more
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Lisa Fratt, Editor, Health Imaging
Politics and weather dominated the headlines this week. Despite the unusually robust consumer news cycle, it was business as usual for most imaging stakeholders.

Many have fretted and fussed about Meaningful Use. The release of the Stage 2 Final Rule adds another level of finality to the program. Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) did offer a bit of breathing room with an extension of the implementation, it has further solidified its commitment to the program.

Most significantly for radiologists, CMS has provided a hardship extension that allows them to avoid penalties…for a time. Other imaging components include an image accessibility menu set item and computerized physician order entry requirements for referring physicians specific to radiology orders. Stay tuned to healthimaging.com for further updates.

Meanwhile, the state of Minnesota has demonstrated the power of decision support for imaging, banking an $84 million savings during a two-year pilot. After a resoundingly successful pilot, a statewide implementation is in the works. Minnesota expects 80 percent of providers will be using the system in the next year.

Hurricane Isaac, meanwhile, has wreaked havoc in the Gulf region. Although Isaac’s toll on communities as well as providers has not yet been tallied, the storm serves as a stark reminder for all facilities to double and triple-check their disaster readiness.  

In the Annals of Internal Medicine, a trio of editorialists encouraged physicians to play a more active role in discouraging patients from using direct-to-consumer screening programs. It’s an important message, underscored by two key related points. Screening does not always benefit the patient, and can be costly; and healthcare has become an increasingly consumer-oriented business. Both have implications for radiologists.

How are these trends affecting your practice? Email Health Imaging and let us know. And please enjoy the extended weekend.

Lisa Fratt,
Editor, Health Imaging