ACR 2016 Council Session
BOC Chair Report: Part of the Care Team
“If you’re in medicine, you’re in politics.”
With these memorable words, Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, began his final report as chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors during Tuesday’s Council Session. Allen’s opening remarks centered on the ACR’s accomplishments during his two-year tenure as BOC chair, from helping to roll back the multiple procedure payment reduction to the implementation of the College’s strategic plan.
Allen went on to praise ACR’s work in aligning radiologists to the coming era of value-based health care, spotlighting the development of clinician decision support (CDS) software as a hallmark of this effort. College initiatives like R-SCAN that incorporate CDS, explained Allen, have been especially prescient given the fact that participation in the CMS Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative is one activity that counts toward satisfying the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Clinical Practice Improvement Activity performance category.
Using CMS’ value-based mandates as a pivot point, Allen also touted the College’s efforts at advancing patient-centered care. From its registries like the Dose Index Registry to the Lung Cancer Screening Registry — both of which satisfy the Clinical Practice Improvement Activity requirement for participation in a Qualified Clinical Data Registry within several MIPS performance categories — to its Imaging 3.0 effort, ACR has worked tirelessly to refocus radiologists on doing what is best for patients while also being reimbursed accordingly through Medicare. In addition, Allen noted that, although still in its early days, the Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care has already made strides toward embedding the patient perspective into the practice of radiology.
Allen concluded by pointedly asking the audience, “Do we want to be report generators, or do we want to be part of the clinical care team?” Given that CMS predicts radiologists will come in near the bottom of physician compliance with the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act’s Quality Payment Program (of which MIPS is a part), ACR members have an uphill battle. However, Allen concluded by issuing an impassioned plea to prove the skeptics wrong before conveying his heartfelt thanks for his time as BOC Chair.
William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR, began his CEO report by highlighting a number of successes ACR has enjoyed since last year’s annual meeting. Notable achievements include deepening relationships with other radiological associations and increasing recognition at major medical organizations like the AMA and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, all of which support ACR’s Strategic Plan. Thorwarth also emphasized the importance of every ACR member’s participation in the R-SCAN program to position themselves for the evolving value-based landscape.
In addition to R-SCAN, another recently developed tool that will help radiologists navigate the hills and valleys of value-based care is the Inpatient Cost Evaluation Tool (ICE-T) app. Created by the HPI, the ICE-T app evaluates imaging costs for each diagnosis-related group to assist members with negotiations for their share of bundled payments. The app features an easy-to-navigate interface that will help radiologists make a credible case for joining alternative payment models in the near future.
Turning to the future, Thorwarth underscored the need for radiology to make itself more appealing to medical students. Following this year’s AUR meeting, ACR joined with organizations like the Alliance of Medical Student Educators in Radiology, the Alliance of Clinician-Educators in Radiology, the Association of University Radiologists, and the Association of Program Directors in Radiology to host a job fair that accentuated the positive aspects of a career in radiology. The good news, noted Thorwarth, is that data suggest that the nation’s rapidly aging population will provide today’s residents and fellows with a lot of work to do for years to come. The younger generation of radiologists will be on the front line as what Thorwarth called the “accountability wave” breaks in the very near future . But the good news, he concluded, is that ACR has been preparing for this moment for decades and is well positioned to help radiologists thrive into the future.
Neil U. Lall, MD, chair of ACR’s Resident and Fellow Section Executive Committee, reported on several of the RFS’ noteworthy achievements over the past year. The RFS has extended its reach to the radiology community by increasing its blogging activity through the ACR Bulletin blog. Spearheaded by Colin M. Segovis, MD, PhD, RFS secretary, this effort has resulted in over 50 articles. Articles run the gamut from showcasing one resident’s efforts to bring PACS technology to a hospital in Kathmandu to drawing attention to which JACR® articles residents and fellows should be reading each month.
Lall also expounded on how several RFS members have become leading members of the College’s commissions, committees, and work groups. Members of particular note include Amy Patel, MD, who is working within the ACR Commission for Women and General Diversity to motivate more women and minorities to enter the field of radiology. In addition, Ashley Prosper, MD, heads the ACR RFS Medical Student Task Force. The task force’s mandate is to understand and enact a plan to fill radiology residency positions.
A cornerstone of the RFS has become its Journal Club, and Lall thanked recent special guests, including Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, and Frank J. Lexa, MD, MBA, for their continued guidance. With ongoing efforts like the Radiology Advocacy Network and strengthening ties with resident and fellow sections in other associations, like the Canadian Association of Radiologists, the RFS has a bright future.