por Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor | June 20, 2013
As health care reform inches closer to full implementation, we are asking several thought leaders their opinions of the law. DOTmed News spoke with Dr. George Bisset III, past president of RSNA and chief of pediatric radiology at Texas Children's Hospital, about the law's impact on the future practice of radiology.
DMN: In what ways do you anticipate radiology changing under President Obama's health care reform law?
The government must find ways to cut cost from the health care system. Radiology will likely have to conform to a different thought process. We will need to focus on quality and value rather than simply on volume. But I look at this as an opportunity for our specialty to shine. Earlier and more accurate diagnosis, with our tools and knowledge, should be a mechanism for lowering costs.
DMN: Have you already seen a shift in the field because of certain parts of health care reform?
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It's still early, but I am hearing more frank discussions about overutilization of imaging and I am seeing a greater emphasis on transparency in charges.
DMN: As a medical professional, how do you view the law?
While I am not a legal expert, my understanding is that the law is an attempt to cut health care spending and to provide an opportunity for all to have affordable health care insurance. I believe that this is a valid attempt on the part of the president to search for solutions.
DMN: How do you think most radiologists view the law?
This is a difficult question. Fundamentally, it is easy to support legislation which provides affordable health care, especially to the underserved. But some groups benefit more than others, and these proposals tend to be tainted by politics, so the interpretation of this law may depend on the political leaning of the radiologist.
DMN: In your estimation, what percentage of health care professionals have sufficient information about the law?
There are well over 1000 pages describing this complex legislation. So, do I think most health care professionals have a thorough understanding on the interpretation of the Affordable Care Act? The answer would be "no". I certainly don't understand all of the implications. That being said, I hope that most of us understand the basics: How Obamacare will affect the underserved, how it will expand Medicaid coverage, how it will provide access to health and wellness benefits, the potential detrimental effect on larger businesses, etc.
DMN: What will be some of the main challenges for radiology under health care reform?