Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

How Radiologists Can Get Along With Everyone

Published on the Jan. 14, 2016 DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

No radiologist, radiology practice, or department is an island. Without partners of all sorts, a radiologist cannot succeed. The inter-related nature of providing quality health care services and optimal patient care requires a well-tuned, communicative team made up of many members.

While your office colleagues are integral to a radiologist’s success, they can’t be the only other players to comprise the team. To be truly effective, radiologists must cultivate and maintain open relationships with other stakeholders – referring physicians, hospitals, technologists, and, most importantly, patients.

According to industry leaders, there are reasons behind why each relationship is important, as well as tactics you can use to strengthen each connection.

For the American College of Radiology (ACR), understanding and supporting ongoing relationships between radiologists and referring physicians or hospital administrations is vital to underscoring the most effective patient care possible. And, these groups always tell the ACR the same things when asked to name the most important characteristics of a successful, trustworthy radiology partner.

Every hospital surveyed reports the need for radiology partners that are aligned with the health systems’ overall goals – ones that take the time to unearth priorities, stumbling blocks, and upcoming efforts, according to Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, chair of the ACR Commission on Economics. Everyone is looking for a radiology group invested in the hospital’s long-term growth.

“Make sure you’re around and visible. Show up to medical staff meetings. Show up and commit to being an active participant with the intricacies of the hospital,” McGinty said. “Get to know the people you work with, and understand their challenges. Those are important things.”

There are several steps needed to reach this goal, she said. After discovering what’s important to them and committing the time and energy investment needed for a solid relationship, identify the people in your department or group you feel most comfortable sending in to talk with hospital administrators. Not everyone will be good for this job, but try not to rely on fewer than three people.

Most importantly, she said, pitch in and keep a positive attitude. Be part of any solution and never part of the problem.

“It’s a bad idea to assume what’s important to any other party. Don’t assume you know their wants and needs. Ask them,” McGinty said. “Spend your time learning about what they consider to be important and what their strategies are.”

To read the article published at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/how-radiologists-can-get-along-everyone


January 18, 2016 Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radiology Leadership: Proposed Reimbursement Cuts “Arbitrary”

Published on the July 12, 2012, DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

A new round of potential cuts to radiology reimbursement has many in the industry expressing anger and frustration. Radiology leaders have called the proposals “arbitrary” and “unfounded,” and all agree the reductions will negatively impact practice management and patient care.

CMS this week released its proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2013, calling for a 4 percent to 19 percent drop in radiology reimbursement rates. The proposal would also extend a contentious policy that governs imaging conducted by a single physician during one patient encounter.

“The most important thing to remember is these are the latest in a series of arbitrary cuts to radiology reimbursement that started with provisions back in 2006,” said Geraldine McGinty, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Commission on Economics and the ACR Board of Chancellors. “We’ve long argued that CMS has flawed data, and they continue to single out radiology based on the perception that imaging is a growing market with run-away costs. That’s simply not the case. Imaging and the associated spending levels are back to early 2000s levels.”

According to the proposed rule, many radiology services would see reimbursement levels drop: 19 percent in radiation therapy centers, 15 percent in radiation oncology, 8 percent in diagnostic testing facilities, and 4 percent in nuclear medicine. These cuts would be reallocated as 7 percent reimbursement increases to family medicine physicians and other primary care providers.

The quality of patient care, particularly in outpatient radiation therapy centers, could decrease if these proposed reimbursement cuts take effect as-is, McGinty said. Many of these centers would likely close their doors, limiting patient access to this type of high-quality, cost-effective care.

The industry’s strongest outcry, however, stems from a measure to expand the current 25 percent multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) on provider services for CT, MRI, and ultrasound. Currently, the MPPR applies to imaging services rendered by the same physician to the same patient during the same encounter. The new proposal would extend the MPPR to other physicians within the same group practice who performed subsequent procedures in those same patient encounters.

If this proposal becomes permanent, it will have a chilling effect of how providers work together, said Paul Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors.“These cuts discourage doctors from working as a team and pull the rug out from under the very physicians working to save these people’s lives,” he said in a written statement.

There’s also a chance expanding the MPPR will have a significant, negative impact on work flow, said Mike Mabry, executive director of the Radiology Business Management Association. It’s unclear whether smaller or more rural radiology practices would be able to effectively and efficiently change their billing strategies.

To read the remainder of the article at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/news/display/article/113619/2090032

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radiology Job Market: 6 Steps To Greater Employment Success

Published on the July 5, 2012, DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

It’s no mystery that today’s radiology job market is tight. Many recent graduates chose radiology before the economic collapse when jobs were plentiful, and now they’re struggling to get their foot in the door either in a hospital or a private practice. And, they’re not alone. Older job seekers are also struggling as practices are forced to downsize in an effort to cope with dwindling reimbursement. A recent informal Diagnostic Imaging poll found that only a quarter of groups are hiring, and 53 percent are still thinning the ranks.

At this point, it’s unclear how – or if – Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act will impact the industry and its job pool, but there are a few tactics job seekers can use now to improve their chances of securing employment.

1. Create a detailed narrative for yourself. It isn’t enough to simply reply to a job posting with your CV and contact information, said Patrick Moore, president of Smart Physician Recruiting. Employers receive at least 20 to 30 applications per job, so you must tell your story to stand out from the crowd.

“Cover letters are a must when applying for a new position,” Moore said. “Tell your story about who you are, what your training was like, and why you are unique. Otherwise, you’re not likely to receive a phone call.”

2. Be willing to work outside your subspecialty. Many practices hire radiologists because of their training in a particular area. But in a growing number of cases, radiologists are being called upon to work outside their wheelhouse, said Geraldine McGinty, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Commission on Economics and the ACR Board of Chancellors.

“Indeed, there are some practices looking for someone to work entirely within their subspecialty,” McGinty said. “But, there are many who need someone flexible – someone who will do something other than what they learned during fellowship. Job seekers must have a willingness to pitch in.”

3. Pick your desired location wisely: If you’re applying for a job in a different geographic location, have and share the specific reasons why you chose it. It isn’t uncommon in this tight job market to see graduates from New England schools applying for jobs in the Southwest without any clear ties to that region, Moore said, and it’s easy for employers to spot someone who is applying wildly in the hopes of finding a job.

“If you do want to choose a different geographic region, seek out practices in that area while you’re in residency or during fellowship,” Moore said. “Make phone calls. Connect with them at conferences. Explain your reasons for wanting to come to their region because they’re looking to find people who will be long-term hires.”

To read the remainder of the article at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/content/article/113619/2088125

July 5, 2012 Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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