The Moorefield Fellowship

RFS Voices


Melissa Chen, MD, neuroradiology fellow at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, tells the Bulletin about her time as an ACR Moorefield Fellow, spending time with the economics and government relations departments at ACR HQ.

What is the Moorefield Fellowship?

The Moorefield Fellowship in Economics and Health Policy is a two-week program that allows residents and fellows to spend time at the ACR headquarters learning about payment policy and reimbursement.

What did you do during your Moorefield Fellowship?

I spent most of the time with the economics team at the ACR headquarters in Reston, Va. The staff gave me a whirlwind overview of current health care payment policy. Unfortunately, there is no textbook available to learn about reimbursement and how the work we do daily as radiologists translates into payment from Medicare, Medicaid, and other third-party payers. We are fortunate that we have experts at the ACR with years of experience who keep us informed of changes that seem to happen daily.

One thing I came to appreciate during my fellowship was that the ACR had anticipated the move towards value-based payment for many years. As a result, radiologists who have embraced the Imaging 3.0™ initiative are well positioned to succeed in the new value-based payment models, including alternative payment models (APMs) and merit-based incentive payment systems (MIPS).

What were the highlights of your fellowship experience?

I had the unique opportunity to attend the APM/MIPs workgroup meeting at the end of my fellowship. The workgroup was assembled in response to the new Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and consisted of radiology leaders and staff from the different commissions, including Economics, Government Relations, Quality and Safety, Informatics, and the new Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care. By pooling the expertise of the group, the ACR formulated a strategy to respond to the MACRA legislation.

Other highlights of my experience included attending a meeting with members of the Brookings Institute. I was encouraged to see the ACR actively engaged in discussions with those influential in policy-making. I also joined conference calls with other specialty societies in regard to the ACR’s MACRA comment letter in response to CMS’ request for information.

What did you learn during your Moorefield Fellowship that is particularly pertinent to residents?

I would encourage all residents and fellows to continue their membership in the ACR after they complete training. The ACR is a powerful voice and advocate for radiologists. No one can truly appreciate what the ACR staff and volunteer physicians do for us daily without spending some time in the offices. We are in the midst of health care reform that may change the way we provide care to our patients. We need to be actively engaged so that as radiologists we can continue to meaningfully contribute to the care of our patients and demonstrate the value we bring to the health-care community.

How can interested residents and fellows apply for the Moorefield Fellowship?

Third- and fourth-year residents and all fellows can apply for the fellowship. I was fortunate that I was selected through my state chapter, the Texas Radiological Society (TRS), to attend the Moorefield Fellowship. The TRS sponsored my fellowship through the TRS Foundation. I hope more state chapters can find funding to choose trainees to participate in this invaluable opportunity.

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