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2018 ACR Conference Summary

The 2018 Annual American College of Radiology meeting was my first, and definitely will not be my last! Both the Resident and Fellow Section as well as the ACR Council Meeting agendas and speakers were informative and inspiring.

The meeting kicked off Saturday morning with the Resident and Fellow Section (and the royal wedding!). Concurrent with discussions of Megan Markle’s dress and the world’s reaction to the powerful message of Bishop Michael Bruce Curry’s address to the royal couple, Dr. Richard Duszak gave the RFS Keynote on what radiology looks like in the current landscape and how we can succeed as individuals and as a profession in the face of Imaging 3.0. From other speakers, attendees learned valuable insight into professional and personal networking in organized medicine and how to succeed (and ways to utterly fail) in an interview at every juncture of one’s career. The RFS society and committee updates were followed by the RFS candidate speeches, each candidate more impressive than the last in their accomplishments and dedication to advancing the field of radiology in all aspects. A huge congratulations to all elected RFS Executive Committee and Nominating Committee members who won their desired positions, as well as to those who did not this year. The competition was fierce!

The Sunday sessions hosted a variety of forums including panels of speakers discussing diversity in radiology, physician burnout, and opportunities in artificial intelligence (AI). Numerous special interest and regional caucuses also allowed members to network and become openly involved in relevant discussions affecting radiology at local and national levels. The opening session of the ACR Council Committee commenced with informative updates of the ACR’s past year accomplishments and a keynote address by Dr. Keith J. Dreyer on the topic of artificial intelligence in medical imaging. The concept of AI permeated this year’s meeting, with the overwhelming recommendation from ACR leaders that we as radiologists must not fight AI fearing its takeover of our role in medical imaging, but we must embrace it, get ahead of it, and learn to use it for our infinite advantage. The Monday and Tuesday sessions boasted content that appealed to both residents, fellows, young physicians, and seasoned ACR members with opportunities such as the YPS-AAWR sponsored speed mentoring lunch, a two part Economics Forum, and stellar speakers like Dr. Anupam B. Jena discussing insight on how physician behavior affects health care productivity, and the charismatic Dr. Nicole Saphier showing how we all, even “dark room” radiologists, can become media moguls with her insider tips and tricks of the trade. And finally, Hill Day preparation was upon us! Tuesday wrapped up with an in-depth look at this year’s ACR advocacy asks with which we would approach congress on Wednesday.

This year, the ACR had three distinct talking points for our congress men and women. The first was to personally thank those who supported rejecting the Trump Administration’s request to reduce NIH funding. Instead, congress appropriated an increase of $3 billion to the NIH in 2018. The second talking point was to ask congress to co-sponsor H.R. 1298, a bill that urges CMS to provide insurance coverage for CT Colonography for colorectal screening as private insurers currently do.

Lastly, ACR Hill Day participants asked congress to support H.R. 1904/S.769, the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA…not to be confused with MACRA!) which brings the concept of radiology assistants (radiology technologists distinctly different from PA’s and NP’s in terms of training and scope of practice) to the forefront of increasing patient access to radiology services. MARCA allows radiology assistants to perform select radiology procedures under “direct” supervision (the overseeing radiology physician is immediately available) instead of under “personal” supervision (the overseeing radiology physician is physically present with the radiology assistant) as is currently reimbursed by CMS.

The Arizona house representatives to whom my group petitioned these requests were wholly supportive. My group stressed that as politically concerned radiologists we strive to add value to the patient experience and our nation’s healthcare system.

In summary, the 2018 Annual ACR meeting was successful in updating members on the importance of being involved in ACR, exemplifying its role in our professional endeavors, and inspiring me to do more!

Kristin A. Robinson, MD Radiology Resident Co-Chief Mayo Clinic Hospital, Arizona


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