Advancing the Business of Radiology
The leading professional organization for radiology business management professionals in any radiology setting.
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Welcome, Leaders!

As a practice leader, you have come to the right place for radiology business professionals who are dedicated to supporting and enhancing their vocation, investing in their career and pursuing higher goals. You have the respect of your physicians to help guide, develop and maintain a practice/department and you strive to advance the profession and improve the business of healthcare.

RBMA is the place to turn for inspiration, resources and practical tools you can’t find anywhere else.

Leaders
“The RBMA provides critical information through expertise and dedication to the field of radiology business. Being a member of RBMA as an administrator has provided me with the most up to date information and networking opportunities to assist me in performing at the highest level.”

More Resources For Practice Leaders:

Resources For Leaders

Register now for DataMAXX for reliable and immediate data to make the right operational decisions, optimize resources, continuously improve performance and develop a strategy for the future

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Welcome, Radiology Business Managers!

As a manager you have come to the right place for information and resources that will assist you in coding properly and obtaining the best possible reimbursement for your practice.

RBMA connects radiology business managers with resources and practical tools to help you succeed.

Manager
“I have been in the radiology business for 34 years and have seen many changes. One of the best changes is how the RBMA has grown and provides us with the necessary tools that we need in order to help us continue on this rocky road.”

More Resources For Managers:

Conference Audio Recording

Articles

Resources For Managers

DataMAXX

RBMA U

Enroll in RBMA U’s Radiology Business 101 – an overview program covering the basics of radiology business as defined under the RBMA Common Body of Knowledge.

DataMAXX

DataMAXX

RBMA’s innovative new practice analytic solution that takes benchmarking to new levels through the combination of your practice’s information and state-of-the art technology and data query protocols.

 

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Welcome, Coders!

As a coder, you have come to the right place for for information and resources that will assist you in coding properly and obtaining the best possible reimbursement for your practice.

RBMA connects coders with resources and practical tools to help you succeed.

“RBMA membership offerings, either the list serve or conference attendance, has provided up to date trends in coding, payor policy and practice management issues. The topics discussed through the list serve either coding or practice management has helped my practice be proactive.”

More Resources For Practice Coders:

Resources For Coders

Ladies

Prepare for tomorrow. Order your ICD-10-CM Toolkit today.
The IDC-10-CM Toolkit designed by Coding Strategies (CSI) and Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA) gives the busy radiology administrator all of the tools needed to prepare the practice for the implementation of ICD-10.

Libman Education
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Welcome, Marketers!

As a marketer, you have come to the right place for information on the state of imaging today and how to effectively market your radiology practice by incorporating tools and strategies including social media and today’s technological innovations.

RBMA is the place to turn for inspiration, resources and practical tools you can’t find anywhere else.

“The RBMA Marketing Conference is a great way to network with colleagues from around the country to gain different ideas and perspectives without the threat of direct competition.”

More Resources For Practice Marketers:

Order your Marketing Toolkit today.

A toolkit designed specifically for radiology marketing, includes samples forms and ideas.

Click here to preview Table of Contents.

Resources For Marketers

5 Steps to Effective Social Media Measurement
If you’re going to invest time in social media, you need to measure performance, but it can be difficult to identify relevant metrics.

How to Generate Compelling Content Ideas for Your Online Customer or Member Community [Infographic]
Are you looking for content to fulfill your new content marketing strategy, but don’t know where to start? Try these 10 great content ideas – plus a bonus idea – to jump start or breathe new life into your efforts.

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Welcome, Vendors!

As a vendor offering radiology products and services you have come to the right place to find your target audience. RBMA attracts decision-makers with buying power.

RBMA members rely on vendors to keep them informed of new technologies, developments, and products for their practices.

“RBMA provides the foundation for connecting with the right people. We appreciate the opportunity to visit with our existing clients as well as meet new prospective clients.”

More Resources For Practice Vendors:

Resources For Vendors

Start planning your 2014 marketing program with RBMA today! Consider a Global Level Sponsorship. Contact daphne.gawronhski@rbma.org for details.

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Enhance your RBMA presence, increase brand awareness, and solidify your position in the industry through a variety of sponsorship programs

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Tips for PQRS Reporting

(Vendor) Permanent link

By Chris Fitzgerald, Vice President of Practice Solutions, Imagine Software

Summer 2016 is here, and many providers are preparing for their Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) participation. With penalties associated with PQRS and the Value Based Modifier program (VM) standing between 2 to 6 percent of Medicare payments, and administrative requirements on the rise, there’s a heightened concern associated with deadline readiness. However, there are several changes and additions specific to the radiology field that will allow for more reporting choices, and subsequently, a higher probability of successful submission to avoid penalties. Let’s uncover tips and the steps necessary to help your organization be ready for the deadline.

Know your options for participation. Claims-based reporting has continued to be the most popular choice for radiology groups. Uncomfortable with this option? Individual PQRS Registry Reporting is another safe option. For the entire list, visit the longer version of this blog post on the Imagine website.

Know how to avoid penalties. Radiologists must report on nine PQRS measures covering three NQS (national quality strategy) domains, then report PQRS codes on at least 50 percent of eligible patients. If you are a provider that bills for face-to-face encounters, one of these must be a cross-cutting measure.  Know that if you are a small radiology group (perhaps you operate as a subspecialist) and are unable to report on nine measures, the Measure Applicability Validation (MAV) process is a great option. You can read more about MAV here.

Know which claims-based measures are best for your organization. Obviously, choose PQRS measures that are specific to your practice and performed frequently. But consider how long it will take to document those requirements. With that in mind, there are specific measures that are popular amongst radiologists to ease of documentation and success rates. RBMA has provided a list of the most popular on their coding forum. For an extensive list, including new additions unique to 2016, read more here.

Know that you must provide additional information for Individual Registry Reporting. Similar to claims-based reporting, professionals must report on nine PQRS measures across three NQS domains and must be applied to at least 50 percent of the applicable studies for Medicare patients. The same radiology-specific measures that can be reported for claims-based can also be reported for individual registry. In addition, individuals must include additional documentation elements in their report, which must be submitted (by your organization or your billing company) all at once to a Certified PQRS registry by the end of the 2016 calendar year and before March 31, 2017. There are 12 specific PQRS measures that are registry only related to radiology that you can view here.

Create a workflow. Make sure that your office staff is on the same page and establish a workflow that ensures that all staff members understand the measures selected for submission, and the best ways to obtain that information to allow for optimized data capture.

Regardless of heightened penalties, an increase in reporting choices and radiology-specific measures are counteracting the stress behind preparing for the dreaded PQRS 2016. So explore your options, plan ahead, take a deep breath and report on!

Chris Fitzgerald, vice president of Practice Solutions at Imagine Software, leverages his industry experience to constantly improve the Imagine Suite of products and provide on-going enhancements for Imagine’s number one focus – its clients. 


 

 

Using Patient Testimonials to Grow a Practice

(Marketing) Permanent link

Radiology may not have the close ongoing relationships with patients that primary care providers enjoy, but that does not mean that patient testimonials are out of reach for radiology practice marketers. By working with clinical staff and your social media person to identify highly satisfied patients, you can surface real patient stories that show what makes the practice so special. The key is knowing what to do next. How do you ask a patient to help you market the practice in a genuine and thoughtful way? What is legally required? 

One route to patient testimonials is through social media. If a patient leaves a great review on Facebook, Yelp or another online review or social site, express thanks and ask them if you can email or private message them directly. From there, be honest and open about asking for their assistance in helping other patients like them find your practice. You can even directly solicit testimonials through social media by asking fans and followers to share a story about your practice. (Just be ready to respond if not every story is positive.)

The second route is through your clinical staff and doctors. Recognize that it can feel awkward for staff to ask a patient if they can pass along the patient’s contact information to the marketing team. Listen to their concerns and see if you can make the process easier in any way. Make sure to answer any concerns clinical staff and radiologists may have about how you will reach out to their patients. Good clinicians put patients first and will not pass along information if they do not trust you to treat their patient the right way.  

Once you are in touch with the patient, you will need the patient to sign a standard advertising waiver and a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) waiver, recommends Paul Pitts, JD, of the law firm Reed Smith LLP in San Francisco. 

Pitts also cautions that you can only use the testimonial if the patient’s experience reflects what a typical patient would experience and that you should be careful with testimonials that mention specific devices or drugs. “For all references to specific drugs or medical devices, the testimonial must fall within the applicable FDA labeling (i.e., on label) and contain adequate risk disclosures,” Pitts writes. 

It can also be a good idea to review your standard advertising waiver. You want the waiver to be clear that it ensures unconditional, non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual license and right to use the patient’s testimonial (video/audio/images). 

Patient testimonials are a wonderful compliment to other marketing efforts and can even help boost your search engine ranks. But you definitely don’t want to take short cuts in getting them. Pitts offers more information on the legal requirements of practice marketing in his RBMA U course Regulatory Concerns in Radiology Marketing. View the RBMA U course catalog here.  

 


Coverage Decisions Updates Coming as ICD-10 Grace Period Ends

(Coding) Permanent link

To ensure a smoother transition from ICD-9 coding to ICD-10, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created a one-year grace period when claims would not be denied because of a lack of specificity. Now that grace period is coming to an end.

RBMA member Melody W. Mulaik, president of Coding Strategies Inc., says that in order to minimize denials and receive the right reimbursement, radiology coders will need to pay close attention to both national coverage decisions and local coverage decisions leading up to October 1, when the grace period is officially over. Indeed, many of the policies are already being updated to remove unspecified codes. 

The biggest example so far is the national coverage decision issued on May 13 (and updated on June 3) that removes more than 40 of the nonspecific diagnosis codes for mammograms. CMS transmittals 1665 and 1672 (the update) are worth reviewing for a full list of these codes. The change is retroactive to October 1 of last year.

In addition, the transmittal adds more covered ICD-10-CM codes for high risk screening colonoscopy and screening barium enemas. Plus, it makes changes to percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) diagnosis coding.

Changes like these may be only the tip of the iceberg. According to Mulaik, radiology coders and billers should expect to see lots more local coverage decision changes and commercial payor policy changes. What are you seeing in your market? Leave us a comment on this post

Is a MIPS Virtual Group in Your Future?

(Management) Permanent link

While the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act creates two pathways for groups to move toward quality payment methodologies, the reality for 99 percent of radiology is that right now, only one of the two pathways is open, explains Ezequiel Silva III, M.D., FACR, a member of the American College of Radiology and a founding member of the Neiman Health Policy Institute. In his presentation "From PQRS to MIPS: What You Need to Know About New Payment Models for Radiology" (available on the ACR website), Dr. Silva outlines how radiology will need to move from Fee-for-Service to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and from there possibly onto Alternative Payment Systems (APMs). However, this last step is not guaranteed.  

As a result, understanding MIPS and how to report successfully under the system will become crucial for radiology practice managers. In the draft MIPS regulations, quality is the most heavily weighted factor in determining if a practice will receive a payment incentive, a neutral payment adjustment factor, or a penalty. Quality is assessed through performance metrics, and this poses a challenge for smaller practices that may not have enough data on specific measures to create an accurate assessment of their quality. To avoid a possible stacking of the deck in favor of big practices over small ones, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed allowing smaller practices to team up and report together as a virtual group starting in the second year of the program. 

What could a virtual group do for your practice? 

One benefit of virtual groups is that could it could fix an issue radiology practices that operate with multiple tax identifiers face. It is not unusual for the same group of radiologists to operate under one tax identifier when working at a hospital and under another when working at an independent or joint venture imaging center. Under current draft rules, these radiologists would need to report quality measures under each tax identifier, greatly increasing their administrative burden and complicating the reporting process. If virtual groups of unlimited size were allowed, this issue is largely resolved and it is one of the reasons the ACR has strongly advocated for the quick adoption of virtual groups under MIPS.

On the other hand, virtual group regulations need to be carefully written to avoid some practices teaming up in ways purely designed to maximize their reimbursement. This would put more honest practices at a disadvantage. MIPS is budget neutral and if someone is able to game the system to get incentive payments, the money for those incentives would come from penalties on practices that fell below the quality threshold. 

Legitimate ways that groups could team up might be based on a shared patient population or shared service line where decisions of the members of the virtual group affect the whole group and create a shared interest in quality improvement. The ACR’s comment letter to CMS on the MACRA proposed regulations notes this. 

ZDoggMD Returns to Drop Mad Rhymes (and Insights) at Fall Educational Conference

(Leadership) Permanent link

The shift toward value-based reimbursement models will have a big impact on radiology practice management. Approaching these changes with a positive attitude and willingness to laugh even when the subject is serious can be key to surviving and thriving in a changing landscape.  

Zubin Damania, M.D., better known by his online alter ego ZDoggMD, is a master of reaching people through humor even when the subject is serious like Zika, Ebola and HPV. He has more than 16 thousand Twitter followers and more than a quarter million Facebook fans. But he also has a serious side having recently produced insightful and touching musical commentaries on EHR technology, physician burnout and end-of-life care.

At the RBMA Fall Educational Conference, September 25 to 27, in New Orleans, Dr. Damania will offer a keynote address on how to survive in a difficult and at times frustrating health care system. The Let’s Talk Blog caught up with Dr. Damania to ask him what he has planned for his presentation to the RBMA. 

RBMA: You spoke last year at the RBMA Summit in Las Vegas and now you are back for the 2016 Fall Educational Conference. Clearly we love you. What new issues will you be discussing?

Dr. Damania: Well, the restraining order has expired, so I’m definitely excited to come back! I’ll be talking a bit more about finding your unique voice and living your own unique story within the complexities and inertia of our health care system. Also: LIVE MUSICAL PERFORMANCES!

RBMA: You’ve been a strong advocate for innovation in electronic health records and care models that would let doctors return to being doctors and reduce the administrative burden on clinicians. In radiology, there is a strong move toward the profession getting out of the reading room and returning to being “the doctors doctor,” actively consulting with primary care doctors, nurse practitioners and even patients instead of just talking to other specialists and writing reports. What are your thoughts on this trend?

Dr. Damania: This is magical. This is the part of radiology that my wife (the radiologist) loves the most—interacting with the other humans on the health care team for the benefit of the patient. It’s Health 3.0 (which I’ll also be talking about this year).

RBMA: As your wife is a radiologist, you know them very well. What mistakes should radiologists avoid when seeking to work more closely with primary care?

Dr. Damania: I’ve met a lot of radiologists who can come off as kind of condescending to primary care folks because they don’t have specialized knowledge in certain areas and their understand of imaging modalities can be less advanced than say a pulmonologist. The key thing is to treat it as a teaching moment, a chance to use your immense expertise to affect not just this patient in the image at hand, but all the future patients that primary care doctor is going to see, now empowered with a better understanding thanks to you.

RBMA: As you’ve pivoted from purely light-hearted videos that offer health information for patients to videos and speaking engagements that offer more serious commentary on the health care industry, what is next for you and Turntable Health? 

Dr. Damania: Try to take over the world. And absent that, to keep being a part of a growing movement to unbreak health care and bring us to Medicine 3.0. 

It is not too late to register for the RBMA Fall Educational Conference. Click here to get started. http://www.rbma.org/fec/. 

 

Imaging Technology Companies Report Early Positive Impact of Device Tax Suspension

(Vendor) Permanent link
When the Affordable Care Act established a new medical device tax to help pay for coverage expansion, imaging technology companies that were primarily impacted by the tax had little room to pass the cost of the new tax on to their customers. Imaging reimbursement had been cut 14 times since 2006 making it tough for vendors to charge radiology practices more. In addition, the promised new influx of ACA-covered patients that was supposed to help offset the cost of the tax also did not materialize.

Instead, developers of advanced imaging technologies say they cut staff, research and development budgets. Now that the device tax has been suspended for two years, they say they are putting that money back in. According to a survey of Medical Imaging Technology Alliance members conducted from April 21 through June 24, 2016, nearly 76.9 percent of respondents said they are either definitely or probably investing additional resources in research and development projects. Furthermore, 69.3 percent of respondents indicated they would be either extremely or somewhat likely to hire more employees. (The mean number for hires was 99 people with 100 percent of those being U.S. hires.)

For anyone interested in better patient care through more advanced imaging options and a stronger U.S. economy, this is good news, and MITA clearly hopes legislators will remember this when they consider whether to make the tax break permanent. But there was some important good news specifically for purchasers of imaging technologies, like RBMA member practices. Nearly 70 percent of the survey respondents indicated they were likely to invest in new infrastructure to introduce manufacturing efficiencies that could lower they cost of their products. In the free text fields of the survey, respondents also indicated they planned to hire more sales staff (better customer service) and one company said it hoped to lower prices for its products and service contracts.

“These survey findings confirm that suspension of the medical device tax has already helped boost investment in R&D and ignite medical technology innovation in just a few months,” stated MITA Board Chairman Nelson Mendes, president and CEO of Ziehm Imaging Inc, in a press release announcing the survey. “Full repeal of this burdensome tax will turn yesterday’s economic headwinds into tomorrow’s tailwinds, spurring sustained growth and protecting patient care. We appreciate the bipartisan efforts of Congress to address this tax and urge them to vote for full repeal when the time comes.”

Do you think the two-year suspension of the device tax could benefit your radiology practice? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Tips for Marketing a Move

(Marketing) Permanent link
Getting the word out about a new location or the move of an existing location ensures your patients, referral sources and other stakeholders are not lost in the process. Kim Kelley, FRBMA, principal and creative director of Ali`i Marketing & Design has helped many practices develop marketing plans for moves. She says that as soon as you have a date for the relocation or new site opening, it is wise to start planning how to market your move.

Developing a relocation announcement and coordinating with your graphic designer and printer on signs and flyers is really the beginning of communicating a move with print and digital mediums. Every practice, even the ones with just the simplest of websites, has an online presence. Kelly advises practices to work with their website developers and social media persons on the marketing of the move.

Also consider other important places online where your address is listed that you do not control directly, such as Google and Apple maps, Healthgrades and Yelp. Invest some time in Googling your practice as if you were a patient and become familiar with how to submit an updated address (and phone if applicable) to the important places your patients may find your contact information online.

“If you participate with reputable directories, make sure they get the information too,” Kelley notes.

Moves are expensive, so there is a temptation to try to control costs and limit what is spent on marketing the move. However, since your practice will already be incurring costs related to website updates, signage, flyers, new business cards, press releases and much more, view a move as an opportunity to maximize marketing of other changes you may wish to make.

Kelley notes that a move is actually a perfect opportunity for updating your website and logo or even a complete rebranding because you are already updating and replacing a great deal of your existing marketing materials for the move.

“Do not be cheap where it matters,” she writes. “Your audience is online and you need your announcement to be out in the open where they can see it. If your website needs an overhaul, consider having a new one designed and developed. It would not be wise to make a big deal of your changes and improvements but let your old, outdated website continue to represent your business.”

For all of Kelley’s tips, check out the May-June issue of the RBMA Bulletin, available online exclusively to RBMA members here.

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