In the busy Exhibit Hall, the ACR offered booths with information on training and education courses, Maintenance of Certification offerings, and practice management. At the Maintenance of Certification booth, Katie Duggan, director of certification at the ACR, looked up certification records for rheumatologists and offered information on training courses in ultrasound imaging. A representative of the American Board of Internal Medicine was on hand to answer certification questions as well, said Duggan.
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Explore This IssueDecember 2013
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At the nearby Practice Management and Coding booth, Antanya Chung, director, practice management for the ACR, answered questions on the upcoming ICD-10 coding changes that U.S. rheumatology practices must adopt in October 2014. “People have a lot of questions about what is coming in 2014,” said Chung. Attendees asked her questions about new codes for specific treatments, such as infusions, as well as about the likelihood of a practice audit. “Auditors are looking for fraud. I’m answering a lot of coding questions to avoid red flags and overbilling,” said Ms. Chung. “We are trying to give members information to keep them up to date and to keep their staffs educated” about the new codes, she said. (See pp. 16 and 39 for more on ICD-10 coding changes.)
For longtime attendees of the meeting like Edward Amento, MD, a rheumatologist practicing in Sunnyvale, Calif., the most noticeable change over the years has been the increasing attendance. “I’ve attended most of the ACR meetings since the late 1970s,” said Dr. Amento. Taking a break in the sun-filled, glass-encased atrium of the San Diego Convention Center, Dr. Amento was leafing through his spiral-bound session tracker to identify what presentations he planned to attend. “Mostly, I am interested in the scientific sessions, anything to do with immunology information or connective tissue diseases,” he said. The annual meeting always attracted international attendees, “but even more so now,” he added. The beautiful weather of San Diego had to add to the appeal, he said, although he said most of the annual meeting sites are inviting.
While waiting for a session to begin, another regular attendee, Gary Klipple, MD, associate professor, division of rheumatology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, said that he mapped out the sessions he planned to attend at the meeting months in advance. “Usually I pick out sessions in areas I’m a little less familiar with, or on topics that I haven’t updated on recently,” he said. He was pleased by the array of topics this year’s meeting offered, especially the session on the evolution of RA-related autoantibody responses during the preclinical phase of autoimmunity. “This topic has reached a time where they are sort of summing up what’s been going on, and it’s really appropriate to do that at this time. That’s why I’m here!”