Healthcare Economics & Policy

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) have befuddled imagers, with radiologists wondering how the specialty might fit into a model seemingly focused on primary care. ACOs have been a hot topic for several years, and generate many unanswered questions. How will the model differ from health maintenance organizations? What methods will they use to cut spending? The answers remain elusive, but with more than 200 ACOs in various stages of operation in the U.S., its time for radiologists to take charge of defining imagings role in the ACO model.

The aftereffects of the Supreme Courts landmark decision on June 28 to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will ripple for years. Now, after months of speculation and stagnation, the U.S. can return to business as usual.

What started as a relative trickle of reimbursement cuts in the early part of the decade has expanded into a deluge in the last 18 months.

Business analytics can help administrators pinpoint problem areas to boost service, patient care and efficiency.

New CT service contract options offer an enticing source of cost-savings for savvy departments.

The chaotic weeks wedged between RSNA and the holiday season provide a wonderful wisp of time to collectively catch our breath while looking ahead to the New Year.

Unintended consequences of healthcare legislation enacted over the past 45 years threaten the financial and social well-being of the U.S.

As the government and payors try to rein in imaging costs and eliminate inappropriate exams, a cascade of studies has attacked radiologys handling of incidental findings. Recent articles on pulmonary emboli, cardiac CT, emergency imaging and internal medicine have pointed to the high volume of incidentalomas that bring about additional testing, potential complications and on the whole, little change to patient management.

The business of healthcare in general and radiology specifically has grown exponentially more challenging in recent years. A variety of factorsan aging population, healthcare reform, evolving payment modelshave converged and unleashed a storm.

We've seen a winter marked by snowpocalypse and political cacophony that plummeted to new lows. The slightest wisp of thaw seemed to be the air in the wake of the Tucson tragedy, but just as quickly the GOP pulled the rug out with H.R. 2, designed to repeal the job killing healthcare law.

As the new year rolls in, were due to have a new healthcare reform planas well as an increase in the federal debt ceiling. My hope is the former brings good news for patients and the fiscal health of healthcare; the latter only means bad news.

As you know, investment and enrichment in EMRs is the focus of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009which allocates a whopping $19.2 billion to health IT. The numbers have been well-publicized, with $17.2 billion being funneled through the Medicare and Medicaid programs to help providers adopt EHRs and another $2 billion earmarked for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Outside the direct contributions to pay for IT systems, there is another $10.4 million in related spending, according to HIMSS, for telecommunications, broadband and telemedicine.