New Legislation Supports Standards-based Guidelines

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National Decision Support Company supports shift from volume-based to value-based payments

On July 31, 2013, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013 that introduces new payment models for physicians based on quality metrics and patient outcomes. “Most exciting is that the second provision of the bill introduces decision support tools, such as ACR Select, as the means to improve the quality and utilization of advanced imaging studies,” says Robert Cooke, VP of Marketing, National Decision Support Company (NDSC).

“This is yet another milestone event in the inevitable shift from volume-based imaging to value-based imaging payments. Radiologists, healthcare providers and payers play a critical role in this transformation, and an integral first step in this journey is the implementation of ‘national standard’ imaging guidelines,” says Michael Mardini, CEO, NDSC.

The value of tools such as ACR Select are gaining attention on a national and local level. For instance, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recently launched the ForwardHealth Alternative Pathway/Gold Card exemption program. Upon approval, physicians who use ACR Select to guide imaging orders for Medicare patients and patient’s in the state’s BadgerCare program will be granted an exemption from prior authorization requirements. “The recognition that ACR Select can enable physicians to make and implement quality care decisions, without the overhead of prior authorization, is further proof of the efficacy of the content and integration approach,” says Cooke.

In a recent Wisconsin Medical Society newsletter, Tim Bartholow, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Wisconsin Medical Society commented on the ForwardHealth initiative stating, “This is a tremendous example of physicians working with payers in developing a process to integrate technology and ensure better care and value. The prior authorization exemption program for the first time implements a process and likely sets a precedent for other site-of-care clinical decision support tools in the Medicaid program.”

‘It's an exciting time for ‘smart medicine’”, exclaims Mardini. “This level of legislative endorsement demonstrates that vetted, physician society, evidence-based guidelines are the next big step to improving care, while establishing control over unnecessary healthcare costs.”

About National Decision Support Company
National Decision Support Company (NDSC) is the exclusive distributor of national standards clinical decision support (CDS) imaging guidelines. NDSC provides the technical platform, support, and licensing of digitally consumable CDS that continuously educates providers regarding the latest evidence-based approach to medicine without disrupting the doctor-patient relationship or delaying needed care. For more information, visit

About ACR Select
ACR Select, provided by National Decision Support Company, is the complete web service version of American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria® (AC). ACR AC is a comprehensive national standards clinical decision support database that provides evidence-based guidance for the appropriate utilization of all medical imaging procedures. More than 300 volunteer physicians, representing more than 20 radiology and non-radiology specialty organizations, participate on the ACR AC expert panels, continuously updating these nationally transparent guidelines, and providing real-time access to the latest medical imaging procedure guidance. The ACR Select platform can be easily integrated with computerized ordering and electronic health record (EHR) systems so healthcare organizations can effortlessly consume ACR AC guidelines and ensure that the right patient gets the right scan for the right indication. For more information, visit

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Robert Cooke
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