Moving Forward

Get the latest from the Board of Chancellors and the Council Steering Committee fall meeting, held Sept. 28 through Oct. 1, 2015.

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With a packed agenda, the Board of Chancellors (BOC) and the Council Steering Committee (CSC) covered a lot of ground at the most recent meeting. Here are some of the high points to keep you informed.

Board Approved

Katarzyna J. Macura, MD, PhD, FACR, chair of the Commission for Women and General Diversity, recommended and the board agreed to amend the ACR membership database’s My Profile section to include diversity characteristic fields, such as race, ethnicity, language spoken, and country of birth in an effort to get to know you better. But don’t worry. Participation is strictly voluntary.

The board also approved the creation of the new ACR Senior Section for retired members and anyone 65 and older. Catherine J. Everett, MD, MBA, FACR, is the chair of the section, which is expected to leverage the knowledge and experience of seasoned members. Look for the section’s inaugural meeting at ACR 2016.

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State of the College

Howard B. Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR, secretary-treasurer, reported that increased revenue and sound cost control measures led to a balanced fiscal 2016 budget. The College is in good financial condition.

The board is currently engaged in a multi-commission effort to understand how the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act will impact radiologists, radiation oncologists, and their practices. As part of this effort, an army of volunteers across all of our commissions is developing tools to help all radiologists deliver value-based health care.

The National Journal, which conducts effectiveness research on lobbying organizations, evaluated the ACR’s policy brand with Congressional members and staff. They had great news for us, with ACR scores matching or exceeding those of all other physician groups analyzed.

Breast Screening Defense

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its draft mammography screening guidelines in April of 2015, giving annual screening for women ages 40–49 a C grade and biennial screening for women ages 50–74 a B grade. The rub: insurers are required to cover only exams or procedures with a USPSTF B grade or higher. The ACR was quick to respond.

ACR Executive Vice President Cynthia Moran reported that the ACR worked with legislators on a bipartisan, bicameral letter requesting clarification on the USPSTF recommendations. The goal is to ensure that Medicare and private insurers continue to cover annual mammography screening for women beginning at age 40.

The ACR has also grabbed the megaphone to voice support for the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screening Act (H.R. 3339/S. 1926), which would delay implementation of the USPSTF breast screening recommendations for two years, if the recommendations are unchanged in the final report. Additionally, the ACR has announced support for the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 1151/S. 1151), which would require the task force to consider input from providers, patients, members of the public, and other stakeholders when devising its recommendations.

MPFS and HOPPS Advocacy

The Commission on Economics continues to engage CMS on the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS). Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, chair of the Commission onEconomics, reported that CMS has improved some of our practice expense values, including an increase from $2,500 to $5,000 for PACS in practice expense formula. The commission also advocated for higher valuation of lung cancer screening versus non-contrast chest CT and a delay in the CT equipment upgrade requirements outlined in the NEMA XR-29-2013 radiation dose standard in comments on the proposed MPFS Rule, and limited reimbursement reductions. CMS finalized the payment for LDCT for lung cancer screening at the same value as a non-contrast chest CT and did not delay the implementation of NEMA XR-29 requirements.

Noteworthy

The board has asked the Bylaws Committee to develop a proposal to establish a board seat for a member of the Young Physician’s Section. This unique input from our young physicians will be a valuable addition to the board.

The BOC and CSC also participated in a dynamic Scenario and Wicked Problem Action (SWAG) planning session led by Frank J. Lexa, MD, MBA. Participants evaluated “The Changing Face of Radiology” by analyzing hypothetical scenarios aimed at maintaining the agility of the College and its members well into the future.

Keith J. Dreyer, DO, PHD, FACR, presented a tech environment update, including a report about “machine learning and big data.” This rapidly evolving technology allows computers to progressively “learn” visual data, which could have a significant impact on improving both quality and efficiency.

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By Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, Chair

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