Value Based Relationships

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By Carlos Vasquez, RT(R), CRA, FAHRA, FACHE

February 2013—Staying up to date with the latest trends, developments and what to watch in the not so distant future in our industry not only requires a great deal of time, but a tremendous leap of faith. We must trust that we have been there; done that and that there will be a firm place for radiology in prevention, maintenance, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.

One emerging trend is the fostering and strengthening of relationships: from radiologists to patients, radiologists to providers, and radiologists to other specialists (for example, vascular surgeons).As I opened and read the Jan/Feb digital edition of Radiology Management, I noticed one of the feature articles right away: “A Foundation for Collaborative Practice: Building Agreements between Radiology and Cardiology.” Another industry magazine places changing the relationship between radiologists and patients as one of the top things to watch in 2013. The most rewarding aspect of these relationships is that the patient is the protagonist and is driven by improved outcomes.

Now add value based purchasing and pay for performance to the relationship and pull up a chair, because we need to have a long conversation and the patient is all ears.

I recently asked one of my radiologists: “How do you think value based purchasing is going to impact radiology?” He responded: “That depends on who is purchasing and where they place the value.” I left thinking he had answered my question with a question, but the more I considered his response, it began to make sense. Since the mid 1900s, insurance carriers and employers have been purchasing healthcare for their members/employees. The dilemma here is that when unemployment increases, access to healthcare decreases, and the value is engineered and controlled by health insurance and employers, leaving one of the key stakeholders (the patient) out of the equation. After over half a century of trying, we have an ineffective and limited healthcare system, unimpressive outcomes, and the costliest healthcare in the world. It is time to place the value where it truly belongs.

In AHRA news, the Spring Conference Design Team is putting the final touches on our upcoming Spring Conference in Los Angeles at The Millennium Biltmore (April 9-11). Check out the learning opportunities and register to secure your spot.

Also, the AHRA Member Recognition Team is busy collecting applications for the 2013 Spring Conference Osborn scholarship. The deadline for applications is February 11. Make sure you visit our website and submit your application; you may be going to Hollywood!

I hope by now you’re getting accustomed to 2013. Although it’s only the second month of the year, we can already see that healthcare is making headlines. Stay the course, be patient, and always be good to yourself before you are good to others.

Carlos Vasquez, RT(R), CRA, FAHRA, FACHE is president of the 2012-2013 AHRA Board of Directors. He is the division director of radiology services at Franciscan-St. Elizabeth Health in Lafayette, IN and can be reached at

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