Readers Respond: Denial, Disbelief, Anger

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We have had many readers respond to last month’s editorial on the failure of our elected officials to grasp the malfeasance of the imaging cuts contained in the Deficit Reduction Act and to institute a moratorium. Here, we publish the comments of Kirk Lawson, executive director, River Radiology and Mark Newton, CFO, Hudson Valley Radiologists, who decided to partner last fall on working together to regain some sense of control over their destiny. — editor

Mark and I manage large full-service outpatient imaging centers in the Hudson Valley and are proud of the important services we provide our communities. Our facilities provide outstanding patient care, have large market shares in our respective communities, and are well run. Considering the negative impact these Medicare cuts would have on our practices and staff, and the even more frightening impact these cuts would have on our patients and practices once they get rolled out to private health plans, we decided to regain some control by collaborating together and meeting with our local representatives. We spent time educating our local representatives on the real impact these cuts would have to access to imaging. We provided them with information about the bills, including the unthinkable size of the cuts and the lack of a thoughtful economic study before the cuts were proposed, and we translated that information right down to the local impact on our patients and our practices. We had tremendous success in 2006 and are off to a flying start in 2007.

We are looping back and meeting again with our representatives in 2007, including Josh Cooper, senior political lobbyist from the ACR, and Mike Mabry, executive director of RBMA, to set up a national teleconference in the coming weeks for RBMA and/or ACR members. The goal of the call will be to reinvigorate a national grassroots lobbying effort to reach out to our 110th Congress and to empower outpatient radiology administrators and their radiologists with tools to have local successes. Ultimately we hope to get these cuts reversed. If you are a member of ACR and/or RBMA, stay tuned to their web sites for further information.