Surprise Billing Battle Continues | Probo Grows

“When AI > AI+human, we face important ethical questions.”

Alexandre Cadrin-Chênevert in response to Lunit’s big mammography AI study. The algorithm’s 0.940 AUC beat radiologists with AI support (0.881) and without it (0.810).

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The Imaging Wire

Surprise Billing Battle Continues

The battle over how to solve surprise billing is still raging in Congress, as a rare level of bipartisan collaboration (each side has bipartisan support) hasn’t been enough to overcome politicians’ industry loyalties (payers vs. providers). Last week brought two new proposals into the surprise billing battle, showing that congress is still working on a solution but isn’t quite there yet.

The Ways and Means Committee Proposal – Hospital lobbies and the ACR were pleased with the new Ways and Means Committee proposal, which would use mediation to settle surprise billing disputes.To providers, this is a welcomed alternative to using a benchmark rate that would give payers too much leverage. Unsurprisingly, payer groups pushed back on this new proposal.

The Education and Labor Committee Proposal – In an apparent effort to find a middle ground, the Education and Labor Committee proposed using a benchmark rate for care up to $750, while adopting an arbitration process for care that costs more than $750. However, it was met with opposition from payer groups and didn’t earn the approval from provider groups.

Specialists Targeted – Meanwhile, radiologists and other specialists are increasingly suffering collateral damage from the surprise billing battle. The biggest recent example of this is Envision Healthcare’s CEO’s decision to step down last week as congress investigates the 900-rad firm’s surprise billing practices. Meanwhile a new JAMA study just found that 20% elective surgeries might lead to a surprise bill and 22% of these surprise bills are due to the use of out-of-network radiologists (anesthesiologists led with 37%).

Probo Grows

Probo Medical announced its acquisitions of Elite Medical Technologies and Future Medical Equipment, expanding the traditionally US-focused company (both ultrasound and USA) to new modalities and countries.

  • Elite & Future – Elite Medical is a U.S.-based pre-owned imaging equipment reseller (CT, MRI, PET/CT), while UK-based Future Medical specializes in the de-installation, purchase, and sales of similar pre-owned modalities.
  • Probo M&A – Probo has been quite active over the last two years, levering its PE funding to merge with MedCorp in March 2018 and acquire Trisonics in February 2019 to become one of the largest independent ultrasound sales/service groups in the U.S.

These latest acquisitions bring a new diversification-focused angle to Probo Medical’s strategy, while still allowing it to take advantage of existing supply chains and relationships. It also continues the recent consolidation and diversification trend among independent imaging players.

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The Wire

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The Resource Wire

  • The GE Healthcare Venue Go features a uniquely adaptable design, a simple interface, and streamlined probe layout so you can go through your day quickly, efficiently, confidently.
  • What can your radiology practice do to improve patient satisfaction? This Healthcare Administrative Partners blog post outlines some steps to improve patient experience including issuing surveys and applying feedback, supporting a range of payment methods, and helping patients understand their coverage.
  • ClearRead Xray from Riverain Technologies includes the first FDA-cleared software solution to transform a chest x-ray into a soft-tissue image, providing unprecedented clarity for efficient, accurate, early detection of lung disease. Learn more.
  • Catch the Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s upcoming webinar (February 24, 1pm ET) about “Immunotherapy for Brain Tumors,” presented by Michael Lim, MD, Johns Hopkins’ Director of Brain Tumor Immunotherapy.

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