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ACR President Blumberg on Reimbursement Cuts, Industry Goals


VIDEO: ACR president Albert Blumberg, MD, discusses CMS’s reimbursement cuts and the shared challenges of radiologists and radiation oncologists.

Radiology services have been a target of federal reimbursement cuts for the last several years. And most of these cuts, said Albert Blumberg, MD, FACR, president of the American College of Radiology, are not based in logic.

These reimbursement policies represent a common thread between radiologists and radiation oncologists, said Blumberg, himself a radiation oncologist at and a practicing radiation oncologist at Radiation Oncology HealthCare PA and vice chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

“Though some may think there is a world of difference between the practice of radiology and radiation oncology, the truth of the matter is, the biggest challenge facing both subspecialties is really the government and the reimbursement polices being instituted by CMS and their constant efforts to reduce expenditures,” he said.

Blumberg was elected to his new post in May and recently sat down with Diagnostic Imaging to discuss the challenges facing radiologists and radiation oncologists.

The industry’s greatest fight right now, he said is to encourage CMS to adopt a computerized decision support system. This would allow for more appropriate image ordering, Blumberg said, which would result in savings, rather than cutting from radiologist reimbursement.

When it comes to bridging the gap between radiologists and radiation oncologists, Blumberg noted that the challenges the two groups are facing have a lot more commonalities than differences.

“It’s time to circle the wagons,” he said. “There needs to be an agreement that this should be a major goal.”

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