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Editor's e-Note
Longtime advocates of lung cancer screening expect to see their cause take a major step forward in 2015. Screening coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act for certain patients at high risk for lung cancer will begin January 1. Also, the final rule detailing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ proposed coverage for screening is expected to be published. While some insurance plans already cover screening, most do not and many people choose not to pay out of pocket for the screening.

— Jim Knaub, editor
e-News Exclusive
A New Age of Lung Cancer Screening Begins in 2015
By Jim Knaub

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recent proposal to cover low-dose CT (LDCT) lung screening would eliminate the age-based coverage discrepancy that would kick in 2015, when the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) mandated coverage begins for certain smokers and former smokers at high risk for lung cancer.

The ACA did not require Medicare to cover LDCT for American seniors. So the CMS proposal is significant in that it would extend coverage to patients between the ages of 55 and 74 with a 30-pack-year smoking history who currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years. Under the CMS proposal, the first screening CT scan requires a “lung cancer screening counseling and shared decision-making visit” with a licensed health care provider.

Full story »
Other Imaging News
New MRI Technique Better Predicts Outcomes
Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

A specialized MRI technique called Diffusion Tensor Imaging is more effective than traditional imaging techniques at detecting microstructural changes in brain tissue and can help physicians better predict the likelihood for poor clinical outcomes following mild traumatic brain injury, according to a new study published in Journal of Neurotrauma.

Pair of MRI Studies Provide In-Depth Analysis of Strokes
Two published studies reveal a new, innovative way to classify the severity of a stroke, aid in diagnosis, and evaluate potential treatments based on MR images, according to research from the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University.

Ultra-High-Field MRI Reveals Language Centers in the Brain
in Greater Detail

A new investigation by the Medical University of Vienna’s Department of Neurology has successfully demonstrated the ability to more accurately pinpoint the areas of the brain that are important for understanding language using ultra-high-field MRI than with conventional clinical MRI scanners. This helps to protect these areas more effectively during brain surgery and avoid accidentally damaging it, according to the university.

ACR Analyzes 2015 HOPPS and Physician Fee Schedule Final Rules
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published its final rules for both the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for calendar year 2015. These rules have a 60-day comment period for the public to provide feedback on ambulatory payment classification placements or revised CPT codes.
In This e-Newsletter
Recently Online
Employment, Mergers and Joint Ventures
From 2010 to 2013, the number of radiology groups has dropped by 10%, partially due to the consolidation of groups but also because radiologists are leaving private practices for institutional employment. Additionally, many groups are taking a cautious approach to recruiting while they wait and see how the Affordable Care Act and other aspects of health care reform affect them. Hospitals have more leverage than ever when dealing with radiologists. And radiologists may now be more willing to listen. Read more »

Sound Familiar?
Traditionally, hospitals have relied on their radiology departments to be revenue centers. However, because volume is down in hospitals, reimbursements are down across the board. Radiology administrators discuss how their departments deal with rising costs and decreasing reimbursements. Read more »

More Than a Software Program
Knowing that an added emphasis must be placed on “as low as reasonably achievable” when dealing with children, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia began addressing dose reduction a decade ago, and a multidisciplinary committee continues to tweak its protocols for CT and other modalities that produce ionizing radiation. Read more »

Radiology Today Interview:
A Practical Approach to MRI Safety

MRI expert Tobias Gilk gives an exclusive interview with Radiology Today to discuss a variety of topics related to safety and best practices in part one of this two-part series. Read more »

RSNA 2014 Navigation Guide
Here’s Radiology Today’s annual guide to the RSNA exhibit hall. Read more »
Worth Repeating
“Screening MRI is the most sensitive breast imaging test, but is also more expensive, requires intravenous contrast injection and is currently reserved for screening women at high risk for breast cancer. Digital breast tomosynthesis, in contrast to MRI, may offer operational and ease-of-use advantages since it is an integrated part of newer generation mammography units.”

Christoph I. Lee, MD, an assistant professor in the departments
of radiology and health services at the University of Washington,
speaking on the merits of adding tomosynthesis to mammograms
when screening women with dense breasts
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