How can radiology practices address financial challenges?

How can radiology practices address financial challenges?

Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | December 04, 2019
Business Affairs
Dr. Gregory Nicola addresses the crowd
Healthcare has long been financially challenging, but recent regulatory changes and large capital outlays affect radiology practices in particular.

Experts provided advice to their fellow imaging professionals on how to meet these challenges during a session titled “Show Me the Money: Financial Outlook of Radiology” at the RSNA annual meeting in Chicago.

Dr. Gregory Nicola, a radiologist at Hackensack Meridian Health Partners, a large private radiology practice, spoke about financial “disruptors,” including the possibility that hospitals will eventually be required by the federal government to publish their negotiated rates.

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Nicola said that while imaging centers wouldn’t be required to publish their rates, they will still be affected by the directive, as patients become accustomed to being able to shop around for healthcare services based on price.

“That patient that is price-conscious and shopping is going to demand to know our prices, too,” Nicola said. “We are absolutely going to have to share that, and we’re going to also have to make the case for why our prices are what they are. And making arguments that we do a lot of complex patients, sedated patients, that patient isn’t going to buy that argument. They just want to know what kind of quality, what kind of service you’re providing them.”

The large cost of capital equipment purchases is a big financial investment for any facility, but especially for a large academic radiology department, and it requires proper planning.

Dr. James Brink, head of the radiology department at Massachusetts General Hospital, shared his department’s Radiology Equipment Report Card, which provides a comprehensive look at the current imaging systems, gauges whether the equipment meets current market standards, and notes the length of its useful life.

“We can really use this kind of tool and show our hospital administrators,” Brink said. “It’s a very helpful snapshot to show the state of our equipment.”

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