Whether we like it or not, medicine is moving from fee-for-service (FFS) to value-based payments. Part of this movement involves site neutrality payments from Medicare, which means that imaging services are likely to be affected.
The risk to patients and imaging providers from medical radiation is often considered low. However, the broadly accepted principal relative to medical radiation is to keep the dose to patients and staff “as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).” Although state and federal regulations exist to promote proper imaging practices, gaps do exist in most jurisdictions; RadSite’s standards aim to fill these gaps.
Imaging centers that follow industry best practices commonly have in-house medical physics programs. Medical physicists have an advanced degree in medical physics, physics, radiation biology or a related discipline as well as training in clinical medical physics. Clinical training may be obtained through a residency traineeship or a postdoctoral program of one or two years in a hospital. When you make the decision to hire a medical physicist, look for a certified, qualified professional who meets the right credentials for your organization.
A medical physicist has many benefits, but their chief value is that they can ensure your diagnostic imaging department is fully compliant in regards to equipment, radiation safety and dosage levels and team members. In fact, medical centers that follow industry best practices have in-house medical physics programs; RadSite’s MIPPA Accreditation Program (MAP) also requires an annual medical physics report for each CT, MRI, PET or SPECT system undergoing accreditation. But simply having a full-time medical physicist on your team does not ensure that your program is running at the optimum level.
Worried about the costs of meeting requirements for XR-29 CT dose standards? You aren’t alone. As organizations scramble to make sure their equipment and software is up to snuff, they may be overlooking a key player who can help with equipment and proper dosing: a medical physicist.
A medical physicist can assist with many of the technical details necessary to keep your imaging department certified, accredited and compliant so that you can receive full payment from Medicare. In fact, RadSite’s MIPPA Accreditation Program (MAP) requires a medical physicist on site to inspect all CT, MRI and nuclear medicine machines at least annually to ensure compliance with CMS requirements.