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Healthcare Policy & Economics

 

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.

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.

In the business world, it’s a given that competition is good for consumers. Battles over market share tend to drive quality up, push prices down and spawn new products and services. When it comes to healthcare, however, some see competition as a dirty word. Shouldn’t caring for patients be closer to a public service than a commercial enterprise? On some levels, absolutely—but not on every level, suggests David Partridge.

Texting on top of phoning outpatient MRI patients to remind them of their scan appointments gets them to show up, all right, although it doesn’t help spur them to arrive on time.

Judging by thousands of insurance claims, spinal manipulation does little to tamp down the overall costs of treating low-back pain. Further, the popular therapy is often preceded by costly and unnecessary imaging exams.

 

Recent Headlines

‘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.

AHRA 2017 preview: Compete now or pay later

In the business world, it’s a given that competition is good for consumers. Battles over market share tend to drive quality up, push prices down and spawn new products and services. When it comes to healthcare, however, some see competition as a dirty word. Shouldn’t caring for patients be closer to a public service than a commercial enterprise? On some levels, absolutely—but not on every level, suggests David Partridge.

Texting MRI appointment reminders cuts no-shows, captures revenues

Texting on top of phoning outpatient MRI patients to remind them of their scan appointments gets them to show up, all right, although it doesn’t help spur them to arrive on time.

Common back-pain therapy may work—but it doesn’t save on imaging or other costs

Judging by thousands of insurance claims, spinal manipulation does little to tamp down the overall costs of treating low-back pain. Further, the popular therapy is often preceded by costly and unnecessary imaging exams.

Medicare has slashed imaging reimbursements by a third since 2006

It’s not news that Medicare has saved itself a ton of money on spending for medical imaging since the enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. But now there are numbers to quantify the hurting the cuts have laid on radiologists and cardiologists—who’ve taken it on the chin even more.

MITA commends congressmen Costello, Peters for bipartisan legislation

Congressmen Ryan Costello, R-Pennsylvania, and Scott Peters, D-California, were commended by the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) for introducing bipartisan legislation to ensure consistency in regulation for the proper servicing of medical devices.

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