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As I begin my presidential term, I would first like to thank each of you, colleagues and friends, for the honor of serving you during 2010–2011. I know that the upcoming year will bring many challenges and changes, especially related to new federal laws and regulations. You can rest assured that the ACR is committed to promoting the needs of the profession, our membership, and especially our patients during these rapidly changing times.
From the College: Coding and Billing for Facet Joint Injections
Billing and coding is not as easy as one might think. The rules are constantly changing—and the codes for facet joint injections, which have changed frequently over the years, are a prime example. To make sure your practice is in compliance, billers, coders, and physicians should remain informed of the correct coding guidelines for facet joint injections. No one in a physician’s practice should ever assume that, because they coded a procedure a certain way in years past, it is still the status...
Meeting: Practical Medication Management
With little clinical evidence to guide them, rheumatologists often struggle to select appropriate treatments for their patients with special issues, noted moderator Peter J. Embi, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Cincinnati, as he introduced presenters in the 2008 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting session, “Practical Pharmacotherapy: Special Problems in Special Patient Populations.” Accordingly, he and co-moderator Michael H. Weisman, MD, director of the Division of...
Features: The Journey Home
My first trip to Vietnam was in November of 2004. I went along to observe, to dive into a culture that I thought I knew, yet was now so foreign to me. One hundred fifty volunteers departed from various cities in the United States, Canada, Australia, and France, converging in Ho-Chi-Minh City on the same day. There were physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), engineers, and volunteers from all walks of life.
From the College: Practical Advice for the Rheumatologist on Medicare PQRI
It is not too late to participate in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) 2009 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PRQI). Participation is voluntary, but providers who participate now will better prepare themselves for probable future reporting requirements while qualifying for an incentive payment from CMS.
News: Round One for PQRI
In December of 2006, the “Tax Relief and Health Care Act” of 2006 was signed, authorizing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish a physician quality reporting system. In response, CMS created the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) on July 1, 2007.
Columns: Unsafe at Any Dose?
My apologies to Ralph Nader for knocking off the famous title of his book on car safety, but I wanted something bold to catch your eye even if I transformed an uncompromising assertion into a tentative question. Drug safety is a topic of overriding importance and something that all healthcare providers must consider in their work. Ever since Hippocrates said to “do no harm,” safety has been up front in physicians’ minds.
Both private and governmental payors are linking payment to documentation of key quality measures, such as those seen in Medicare’s Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). To assist in PQRI reporting and rheumatologists’ own quality-improvement efforts, this month the ACR will release a Web-based quality-measures recording and reporting tool called the Rheumatology Clinical Registry (RCR).
From the College: PQRI Changes for 2008
CMS has announced alternative reporting periods and reporting criteria for the 2008 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI).
Departments: The Peripatetitc Theodore Pincus, MD
Begin a conversation with Theodore Pincus, MD, about his scientific career, and you’ll soon be discussing a range of topics, from the history of rheumatology to Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. “The thing about Ted is that he is an effervescent person,” says Halsted R. Holman, MD, who was chair of medicine at Stanford University’s School of Medicine when Dr. Pincus became an internal medicine resident in the early 1970s and is now the emeritus...