ACR Bulletin Feature Article

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Investing in Radiology

The College's strategy for financial sustainability ensures a solid foundation for radiologists and their patients.investing in radiology

The ACR was established to serve the needs and interests of radiologists. While the challenges the profession faces have changed over time with the ever-shifting health care environment, the heart of the ACR has never wavered.

We are dedicated to investing in our core purpose: to serve patients and society by empowering members to advance the practice, science, and professions of radiologic care.

In 2014, the ACR leadership approved a new strategic plan that articulated a vision for the future and aligned the ACR's programs with that vision. The strategic plan contained six goals designed to guide the ACR's future success; the sixth and final goal is an unwavering commitment to financial sustainability. A strong financial plan provides the means to achieve the program-specific goals of the organization.

Positive margins, reserves, and diverse revenue streams form the basis for ensuring a long and healthy future for an organization. These are the resources that enable the ACR to invest in programs and initiatives that support its members and the profession. In conjunction with the strategic plan, the ACR initiated a program-assessment process to analyze the organization's activities, align them to the strategic plan, and ensure that the College resources are used judiciously.

The ACR has had great success in generating margins, building reserves, and funding new initiatives. Over the last 10 years, the ACR has made several strategic investments. Each new program or service was developed to provide the tools and services necessary for our members to continue to thrive in a competitive health care environment and to further the practice of radiology:

ACR Education Center: The ACR Education Center opened in 2008 to provide a unique learning environment that combines faculty lectures with one-on-one interaction. Each course consists of an intensive, self-paced case review. Since 2008, the Education Center has trained over 10,000 participants.

Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute®: The Neiman Institute was established in 2012 to contribute credible, objective, and reproducible research to the national health policy debate. To date, 55 papers have been published through the institute, several of which have influenced major policies by CMS and insurers. In addition, critical data tools, such as the Neiman Almanac, have been developed to aggregate data from national and state sources.

We are dedicated to investing in our core purpose: to serve patients and society by empowering members to advance the practice, science, and profession of radiological care.

Radiology Leadership Institute (RLI)®: In 2013, the RLI was created to equip radiologists with leadership skills that enable them to stay at the forefront of the most important issues in health care. Over 4,000 radiologists have participated in RLI's unique leadership training program, approximately one quarter of whom are members in training.

Imaging 3.0®: The ACR developed the Imaging 3.0 initiative to protect the vital role of radiology within the changing health care system. The multi-phase initiative gives members the tools and resources they need to provide value-based, consultative, patient-centered, and outcome-focused care. These principles are critical to the Quality Payment Program defined by the MACRA legislation.

Clinical Decision Support: In 2012, the ACR partnered with a software-development company to create a computer-based diagnostic imaging decision-support system: ACR Select®. The tool leverages the evidence-based guidelines of the ACR Appropriateness Criteria® to enable physicians to order the right image at the right time. ACR Select is in use in over 1,000 different acute-care facilities in more than 125 health systems.

Registries: The ACR National Radiology Data Registry® provides radiology facilities with a mechanism to benchmark outcomes and process-of-care measures and to develop quality improvement programs. It has been approved by CMS as a Qualified Clinical Data Registry since 2014. Its constituent registries are designed to meet CMS reporting requirements, including MACRA/MIPS performance metrics. Participation in ACR registries has grown 800 percent since 2012.

Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care: In 2016, a new commission was created to evaluate and address new practice and payment models that focused on patient-centered care. The ACR is developing a central database of resources to help members ensure they are an integral part of the patient-care model.

Innovation Fund: In 2015, the College's reserves reached a new level that allowed leadership to set aside dollars to create the ACR Innovation Fund, which supports untested and unique activities that further the ACR's strategic plan.

Along with these initiatives, the ACR has made steady investments in core activities that are valued by the membership. Through our advocacy efforts, the voice of radiologists is represented in legislative and regulatory affairs affecting our industry. Most recently, the ACR advocacy team was instrumental in rolling back the multiple procedure payment reduction from 25 percent to 5 percent, returning approximately $352 million to radiologists over ten years. Approximately 70 percent of the ACR's annual budget goes toward quality and safety, advocacy, education, and member services. The other 30 percent is directed to grant-funded scientific research to advance the practice of radiology and radiation oncology with federal, state, and industry partners contributing to our efforts.

Through a variety of targeted investments, the ACR has built a financial foundation that positions us well to be responsive to members' needs and to changes occurring in our profession. Our commitment to fiscal responsibility, appropriate use of resources, and the alignment of our spending with our core purpose and strategic plan allows us to remain true to our members. The ACR is investing in radiology for the benefit of our patients and our profession.


BrinkBy James A. Brink, MD, FACR, Chair

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