New Research Finds Radiologists Serve More CMS Beneficiaries Each Year Than Other Specialties

According to a new study, diagnostic radiologists on average serve more unique Medicare beneficiaries each year than any other specialty. The work, conducted by researchers at the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, was presented at the 2017 ACR annual meeting.

The researchers assessed the number of unique Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries radiologists served yearly, compared with other specialists. Using Medicare Physician and Other Supplier Public Use Files, all physicians who provided services to Medicare FFS beneficiaries in 2013 were identified.

"We found that of all 56 uniquely identifiable physician specialties providing services to Medicare FFS beneficiaries in 2013, diagnostic radiologists served an average of 3,150 beneficiaries, more than any other specialty," says lead author Kristina E. Hoque, MS, MD, PhD, a neuroradiology fellow at the University of Southern California.

Hoque and her colleagues found that cardiologists, cardiac electrophysiologists, dermatologists, and urologists were also included in the top five specialties serving CMS beneficiaries. Interventional radiologists ranked eighth and nuclear medicine physicians ranked 16th.

"All too often, radiology is thought of as a non-patient facing profession. This single snapshot of imaging utilization demonstrates radiologists to be leaders in current patient care orchestration," Hoque noted.

"As radiologists continue to play a more prominent role in patient care, it is critical to emphasize a value-based patient centered mentality," says Richard Duszak, MD, FACR, professor and vice chair for health policy and practice in the department of radiology and imaging sciences at Emory University and affiliate senior research fellow at the Neiman Institute. "In effect, not only will radiologists continue to touch more patient lives than any other medical specialty, they will also perhaps impact the practice of other subspecialties more than any other type of physician."

Source: Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute