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Healthcare Economics & Policy

 

In its fourth annual update on medical overuse, JAMA Internal Medicine names 10 procedures and practices that are ripe for the curtailing. In the category of “overtesting,” the klieg lights fall on four exams—and all are based in imaging.

Anthem’s recent decision to no longer pay for outpatient CT and MR exams performed in hospitals didn’t come from nowhere—and, going forward, the move is not likely to be an outlier among private payers’ business stratagems.

In Harris County, Texas, three outpatient family-medicine affiliates of Baylor College of Medicine have slashed their unnecessary orders of lumbar-spine MRIs—and improved the appropriateness ratings of those they did order—by attending educational sessions and using the American College of Radiology’s R-SCAN program.

Offering first-year medical students an elective introduction to interventional radiology (IR), researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and its Perelman School of Medicine have found considerable receptivity to the learning opportunity and heightened interest in the specialty.

It’s no secret that radiology ranks among the medical specialties with the highest mean markups on list prices. However, a new review of Medicare data on prices listed and payments made shows that, far from being arbitrarily set—as is often assumed if not alleged—many of radiology’s highest prices reflect real-world, case-by-case factors involving heightened risk, greater clinical complexity and increased need for subspecialized expertise.

 

Recent Headlines

4 imaging exams called out as examples of unnecessary care

In its fourth annual update on medical overuse, JAMA Internal Medicine names 10 procedures and practices that are ripe for the curtailing. In the category of “overtesting,” the klieg lights fall on four exams—and all are based in imaging.

ACR’s Kassing: What imaging business could get by on $15 for CT and $35 for MRI?

Anthem’s recent decision to no longer pay for outpatient CT and MR exams performed in hospitals didn’t come from nowhere—and, going forward, the move is not likely to be an outlier among private payers’ business stratagems.

Family-med practices take a bite out of inappropriate low-back MRI

In Harris County, Texas, three outpatient family-medicine affiliates of Baylor College of Medicine have slashed their unnecessary orders of lumbar-spine MRIs—and improved the appropriateness ratings of those they did order—by attending educational sessions and using the American College of Radiology’s R-SCAN program.

MEDNAX acquires Jefferson Radiology, its third practice in 2017

MEDNAX has acquired Hartford–based Jefferson Radiology and Jefferson Imaging Associates as part of MEDNAX’s vRad—a global teleradiology company with over 500 U.S. board-certified radiologists.

1st-year med students edified by intro to interventional radiology

Offering first-year medical students an elective introduction to interventional radiology (IR), researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and its Perelman School of Medicine have found considerable receptivity to the learning opportunity and heightened interest in the specialty.

‘The history of medical imaging has had its tradeoffs’—and so will its future

In the heavily fee-for-service payment environment of years past, many care decisions were driven by the ready availability of expensive technologies. Imaging advances stood among the most conspicuous precipitators of resource consumption. That world is fading fast, and for good reason, according to the authors of a paper published online Aug. 17 in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Hard data: Radiologists’ higher prices reflect important yet often overlooked factors

It’s no secret that radiology ranks among the medical specialties with the highest mean markups on list prices. However, a new review of Medicare data on prices listed and payments made shows that, far from being arbitrarily set—as is often assumed if not alleged—many of radiology’s highest prices reflect real-world, case-by-case factors involving heightened risk, greater clinical complexity and increased need for subspecialized expertise.

Eyeing cardiac ultrasound, Philips buys German imaging software company

Philips has announced it is acquiring Germany-based TomTec Imaging Systems, primarily to increase its strength in cardiac ultrasound markets.

Radiologist’s congressional bid sprints forward

The odds that Stephen Ferrara, MD, will become the first radiologist elected to the United States Congress have improved. On Friday, the interventionalist reported his campaign raised more than $250,000 in its first eight weeks—possibly a record for a first-time candidate in his state, Arizona.

ACR presses Medicare to cover virtual colonoscopy

The American College of Radiology is urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to start paying for CT colonography for seniors.

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