Strategic Radiology’s CIO Jim Whitfill, MD, was recently installed as chair of the board of directors for the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM). Whitfill, a clinically trained internal medicine physician, entered radiology by way of an informatics fellowship undertaken in the late 1990s, after which he took a position as CIO with a large radiology practice in the Southwest.
The 19 physicians of X-Ray Consultants (XRC)—Strategic Radiology’s newest affiliate practice based in South Bend, Indiana—have had a ringside seat on the consolidation that is reshaping the hospital landscape. The group goes back to the 1940s, when one of its founders Wallace Buchanan, MD, served as president of the American College of Radiology. In the early ’60s the practice became known as Lockhart & Beach until its incorporation as X-Ray Consultants in 1979.
The Strategic Radiology (SR) June Meeting returned to the idyllic mountain setting of Park City, Utah, last month to take care of coalition business and update member practices and the board of managers on progress toward the strategic plan and objectives of the coalition. Long days in meeting rooms ended in networking opportunities over the dinner table—establishing the trust and collegiality necessary to build a functional team requires interpersonal interaction and face time with all team members.
A dozen marketing directors responsible for marketing individual Strategic Radiology practices gathered in Nashville in June for their annual meeting prior to the RBMA Spark marketing conference—as usual, the three hours allotted flew by too fast. It was a great start to a conference that brought a number of marketing directors to the podium to both share their knowledge and collect awards. Content takeaway? We're all a little bit millennial.
No honor is sweeter than recognition by one’s peers, and that is precisely what happened in late May when Robert Epstein, MD, FACR, and William Keyes, MD, FACR, became fellows of the American College of Radiology during the annual meeting. Fellowship is an honor received by a slim 10% of radiologists and granted based on a radiologist’s contributions to the College, organized radiology, teaching, and/or research. The list of past recipients includes many luminary names, including SR CEO and chair Arl Van Moore, MD, FACR.
When neuroradiologist Bradley J. Bohnert, MD, MBA, isn’t describing brain tumors, measuring carotid stenosis, or interpreting spinal MRI studies, he wrestles with practice staffing issues and other management functions as CEO of Radiology Ltd., a Strategic Radiology (SR) member practice in Tucson, Arizona. He also found the time to map nearly 1000 radiology CPT codes to their appropriate subspecialties as part of SR’s broader effort to aggregate and organize data for clinical benchmarking and business intelligence purposes. In its infancy, the subspecialty mapping project is the first step in an endeavor that Dr. Bohnert hopes will demonstrate the value of radiology subspecialization.
Over the years, Strategic Radiology's newest affiliate practice Tower Imaging Medical Group (TIMG) has earned a place in the firmament of Los Angeles-based radiology practices, with a complex practice genealogy that blends entrepreneurship with an academic flair. It serves two prestigious hospitals—Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia—and in joining the Strategic Radiology coalition, the highly subspecialized but relatively small 17-radiologist practice found a beachhead in the rapidly consolidating Los Angeles market.
Shortly after joining the Strategic Radiology coalition, the leadership of Orlando, Fla.-based Medical Center Radiology Group attended the coalition’s twice-yearly Quality Forum and made a note: Designate a patient safety lead for the practice and initiate a formal quality program. Back in Florida, MCRG leadership reached out to Diana Stillwell, a nuclear medicine technologist who had just completed her MHA after going back to school and was working for one of their hospitals at the time. When they asked her to lead the program, she hesitated: “I didn’t feel that I had the knowledge that I needed,” recalls Stillwell, director of quality improvement and risk management, MCRG. “But I knew that I was a resourceful person and thought it was a great opportunity, so I dove right in. I have been in the role for about two and a half years now.”
A self-described militant pragmatist, radiologist Kurt Schoppe, MD, the ACR’s RUC advisor, is not one to shy away from unpleasant economic truths about medicine. Schoppe, a body radiologist with Strategic Radiology member practice Radiology Associates of North Texas in Dallas/Fort Worth, shared some plain-speak on medical economics in a recent column called “Unpopular Opinions” in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
Strategic Radiology’s newest affiliate member practice was founded in 1970 to serve the needs of North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Minn. “Like most groups, it began with a couple of radiologists sitting in a dark room at a growing hospital,” shares Troy Roovers, the CEO of the 26-physician Minneapolis Radiology Associates (MRA).
Linda Wilgus, MBA, CPA, has spent more hours than she can count over the past 20 years reading physician fee schedules, state and federal laws, and other legal and regulatory documents impacting the business of radiology. On April 5 in San Diego, Wilgus was recognized for her work as a member and chair of the RBMA Federal Affairs Committee by its president Thomas Dickerson, EdD, when he awarded her with the association’s Global Achievement Award.
Since 1930, Inland Imaging, Spokane, Wash., has provided radiology services for Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital, a 719-bed quaternary care hospital, and Providence Holy Family Hospital, a 197-bed community hospital, owned by Providence Health & Services. The radiologists and hospitals deepened their relationship in 1998, when they entered into an exclusive outpatient imaging center joint venture (JV) contract that committed them to a 50-50 ownership of all of their outpatient imaging services in a prescribed geography.
In a unanimous vote, the Strategic Radiology (SR) Board of Managers approved a business plan to implement three sweeping national initiatives that will greatly enhance collaborative activity and services for members, 22 privately owned and independent radiology practices. “We have a clear direction, we know where our compass is pointing, and we know what to do,” said Arl Van Moore, MD, FACR, CEO and chair of SR.
Quality operatives from Strategic Radiology member practices gathered at the March Quality Forum recently, held in Phoenix at the Wild Horse Pass Resort, to share best practices and provide input on future quality initiatives. Lisa Mead, Strategic Radiology PSO and Quality Director, kicked things off with a review of the regulations governing Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) listed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for the new participants in the room.
When a leading patient satisfaction survey provider announced changes to its survey tool that reduced its value to radiology practices—particularly those that operated outpatient imaging centers—one member wondered if Strategic Radiology could develop a more relevant and useful tool. Working together, Lisa Mead, RN, MS, CPHQ, executive director, SR PSO Quality and Safety, initiated a Quality Workgroup to develop the questions, and Dave Polmanteer, director of analytics and business intelligence, developed a survey tool that could be customized for each practice.
By Arl Van Moore Jr, MD
Last year’s record-breaking deal-making activity among hospitals and health systems suggests that the market is entering a new era of collaboration as consolidation continues. Size and scale have always propelled merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, but the 2017 deals were different Strategy not finance drove the deal-making, according to a report from Kaufman Hall & Associates.
Nine interventional radiologists (IRs) contributed to an enlightening guide to the Twitter IR ecosystem recently published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology special issue on Social Media and Medicine. Among the authors was one of Strategic Radiology’s more active users of the platform, Diversified Radiology’s Peder Horner, MD, @IR_Doctor.
Have you ever wondered how much time the radiologists in your practice spend on nonclinical, unreimbursed activities? When you meet with clients to negotiate contracts, do you struggle to accurately quantify the hours your radiologists spend on tumor boards, hospital committees, patient safety activities, and other contributions?
By Clint McClurg
Before I began my career with Diversified Radiology in Denver, I really never gave much thought to what a radiologist was, and I certainly didn’t think it mattered. After all, if they got their doctor of medicine degrees, weren’t they the same as any other physician? My second day on the job gave me a clear indicator that I was very misinformed. In a small, dark room with a bank of large monitors, I witnessed something completely unexpected.
Twice a year, Strategic Radiology’s CEO Arl Van Moore, MD, FACR, packs a bag and travels to a destination somewhere in the United States to represent radiology in the House of Medicine—the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates (HOD). He has represented radiology as a member of the American College of Radiology’s delegation since 1996.
At the conclusion of 2017, contributions from Strategic Radiology (SR) member practices exceeded the halfway milestone toward funding their $800,000 gift to the RSNA Research and Education (R&E) Foundation. The commitment will fund annual Strategic Radiology Research Seed Grants for 20 years in support research conducted by young investigators and push the specialty into the future.
Located in the Silicon Valley, Stanford Radiology has an enviable vantage point from which to advance deep learning in radiology. Curtis Langlotz, MD, PhD, director of Stanford’s new Artificial Intelligence in Medicine & Imaging (AIMI) laboratory, was one of three academic radiologists to share their institution’s approach to AI during a standing-room-only How I Do It session at the November 2017 meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA),
During the 2017 RSNA meeting, Jennifer L. Kemp, MD, a body imager with Strategic Radiology member practice Diversified Radiology, Denver, CO, was awarded with the Minnie Award for Scientific Paper of the Year from Aunt Minnie editor-in-chief Brian Casey. Kemp received the award as lead author of a paper published in Radiology that described the findings of an RSNA survey exploring radiologists' opinions about patient-centered radiology.
In June, one of Strategic Radiology’s most visible symbols of the value of collaboration, the Patient Safety Organization (PSO), will celebrate its fifth anniversary. Since it was listed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) on June 19, 2013, SR’s PSO has stood as the first and only radiology-specific PSO in the United States.
If you hadn’t noticed, you may be surprised to see that Strategic Radiology has a brand new, mobile-responsive web site. Take a few minutes for a test drive. On the home page, you’ll see that there are four user experiences to meet the needs of our primary visitors: radiologists, hospital executives, payers and other partners, and patients. Each section is designed to provide information that helps visitors understand the value that Strategic Radiology practices contribute to health care.
On September 18, 2017, CMS made available the 2016 Annual Quality and Resource Use Reports (QRURs) to every group practice and solo practitioner in the nation. SR PSO Quality and Safety Director Lisa Mead took that one step further and provided those Strategic Radiology (SR) practices that submitted their data to SR’s Patient Safety Organization with an additional benchmarking document showing them how they compared with their SR peers.
In January 2018, physicians will receive a positive, negative, or neutral update in their Medicare reimbursement rates based on their final score based calculated from 2016 data for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).
Although CMS gave no indication in the proposed 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) that cost would be included in the 2018 calculation—along with quality, improvement activities, and advancing care information categories—the 2018 MPFS Final Rule allotted 10% of the total score to where radiologists fall on the cost spectrum. What does that mean?
Interest—and concern—about artificial intelligence ran so high at the 2017 RSNA meeting that fully 20 minutes prior to the start of “Deep Learning in Radiology: How I Do It,” all seats were occupied and the room was ringed by a standing-room only crowd. Luciano M. Prevedello, MD, MPH, Curtis Langlotz, MD, PhD, and Bradley Erickson, MD, PhD, repaid their eager audience with a rare gift in these times of high AI anxiety—they demystified a powerful new tool.
In his president’s address at the annual RSNA meeting in Chicago, Richard L. Ehman, MD, posed the following rhetorical question: “Is it time to reinvent radiology?” The 103rd president of the RSNA left no doubt that he believes the time is now, and he urged, cajoled, and implored radiologists to roll up their sleeves and engage in the transformation of the specialty.
Hub is the monthly newsletter published for the membership of Strategic Radiology practices. It includes coalition and practice news as well as news and commentary of interest to radiology professionals.
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