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AMA opposes CMS pay reduction scheme

The American Medical Association is none too pleased with the ongoing slide in Medicare payments to physicians (a 4.3 percent cut starts Jan. 1), and is also not happy about talk of an adoption of a pay-for-performance Medicare reimbursement model to determine pay levels, The Hill reported.

Michael Maves, executive VP of AMA, sent a pointed letter saying as much to CMS Administrator Mark McClennan, which also threatens to oppose the pay-for-performance measures unless Congress moves to permanently reverse the decline in payments to doctors.

The Senate has approved a 1 percent physician reimbursement in 2006, though the House has not moved forward with similar legislation.

Pay-for-performance works, says CMS

Healthcare provider pay-for-performance can increase clinical quality and save lives, according to the first year of official data from a national project involving more than 260 hospitals. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will pay $8.85 million in incentives to the top-performing hospitals in the project, which is managed by Premier Inc.

Data from the first year of CMS/Premier Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID), validated by CMS and reported publicly in December, demonstrate a significant improvement in the quality of care across five clinical focus areas.

Schering, Philips team up optical breast imaging

Royal Philips Electronics and Schering announced the formation of an alliance to research, develop and commercialize medical equipment and associated contrast agents for optical imaging.

The first development will combine an optical dye called omocianine (SF-64) from Schering for the diagnosis of breast cancer with an enhanced mammography device developed by Philips.

HL7 clinical documents to include CCR patient data

Health Level Seven plans to create an implementation guide for expressing Continuity of Care Record (CCR) patient data - including a summary of a patient's most recent and vital medical information - within the architecture of an HL7 Clinical Document for standards-based electronic exchange of information.

The move should ease the shift towards interoperability for the healthcare industry.

Penn researchers use MRI for schizophrenia diagnosis

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) used MRI to look for subtle brain abnormalities that could assist in the early diagnosis of schizophrenia.

The results of the study demonstrated that computational analysis methods can find unique structural brain characteristics in schizophrenia patients, with a predictive accuracy of more than 83 percent.

NetApp sees revenue growth

Network Appliance Inc. (NetApp) has seen growth with second fiscal quarter revenue at $483.1 million, an increase of 29 percent compared to 2005. Revenues for the first six months of the current fiscal year totaled $931.5 million, compared to revenues of $733.6 million for the first six months of the prior fiscal year, an increase of 27 percent year over year. Activities for NetApp include the Decru acquisition and demonstrated growth in iSCSI, NAS and SAN.

IBM, i3 Archive provide access to digital mammo archive

IBM and i3 ARCHIVE Inc. have launched MyNDMA, a personal health management portal linked directly to i3's National Digital Medical Archive (NDMA) - a large archive of digital mammography images and related data which women worldwide will be able to access. The NDMA uses IBM technology as the base of its system. Today, 24 hospitals have access to NDMA which includes more than 1 million digital mammography images, thus providing an estimated 300 doctors and researchers access to patient records, allowing faster diagnosis and treatment.

Why you became an RT: All you need to know but were afraid to ask

Radiologic technologists become RTs out of a desire to help people, and to do interesting work, according to a new survey by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and Health Careers Futures which set out to define why people make that particular career choice. The survey called Career Pathways Taken by Radiologic Technologists looked at myriad elements that go towards an individual making the choice to become an RT. Interestingly, most people by the age of 21 decide they want to explore the field and often find themselves entering an educational program by 23.

Concerning the top-ranked factors in their decision, following are highlights:

  • Wanted a profession that was interesting