- Fine Print

The flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula is a dark cloud of uncertainty that annually hangs over healthcare practitioners, threatening to trigger the government-mandated double digit cut in reimbursement rates for Medicare beneficiaries. When the temporary SGR patch was extended in April 2014 (for the 17th time), it was the inclusion of the ICD-10 delay that took healthcare by surprise and overshadowed other provisions of the Act. While the ICD-10 delay certainly warrants the attention of healthcare providers, there are other provisions included in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) of 2014 that deserve equal attention so that clinicians can prepare for the impending changes.

 - screening

Last summer brought something of a media moment for mammography in the U.S. The spotlight shone on the star—3-D imaging for breast-cancer screening—after the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that tomosynthesis, when added to digital mammography, is a natural at catching invasive cancers while exposing false positives as impostors.

 - Mercy Hospital St. Louis

When four-state Mercy broke ground on a four-story, 120,000-square-foot virtual-care center on a patch of green in Chesterfield, Mo., last spring, the blueprint represented a bold and visionary step into American healthcare’s digital future, as the center may be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The organization estimates that the center will manage more than three million telehealth visits in the first five years following its scheduled 2015 opening.

 - value

Tomosynthesis is a relatively new type of imaging technology that utilizes x-rays to create a 3-dimensional image of the breast and is mainly used to detect and diagnose cancers. Not yet considered the standard in clinical care, most imaging centers still employ conventional digital mammograms as their primary method of detecting breast cancer. Conventional mammograms take x-rays of the breast from different angles to create cross-sectional 2-dimensional images. Imaging centers must decide if replacing existing conventional mammography systems with tomosynthesis makes sense from a clinical and financial perspective. What are some factors that drive this decision making process? Will adding this technology to your imaging center create value for shareholders?

 - Uphill ICD-10

Smaller healthcare providers are struggling to catch up with their larger counterparts, but across the board more organizations are embracing the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) for medical coding compared with a year ago.