s03a.jpg (8693 bytes)The 28th annual meeting and exposition of the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators (AHRA), in conjunction with the Association of Educators in Radiological Sciences (AERS), heads to Nashville from Aug. 6 through 10.

“Energize” is the theme for this year’s forum, as the two organizations present a wide variety of breakout sessions, learning intensives, plenary sessions and computer workshops throughout the five-day event.

The plenary sessions begin on Sunday, Aug. 6 at 1 p.m. with two forms on imaging centers. Robert Maier, president and CEO of Regents Health Resources LLC (Brentwood, Tenn.), and Bill Sanders, Regents vice president of operations, will host “Imaging Center Development – Soup to Nuts and Bolts.” The men will discuss, among other issues, planning and developing outpatient imaging centers, determining the best location, and common pitfalls and problems and possible solutions.

Hazel Hacker, business manager for Edison (N.J.) Imaging Associates, Kenneth Fazzino, director of medical imaging support services for Morton Plant Mease Healthcare (Clearwater, Fla.), and DiAnne Wallace, director of imaging services for Fayette Medical Clinic (Fayetteville, Ga.), will join Maier and Sanders for a panel discussion on the planning, benefits, drawbacks and management of independent imaging centers.

Also on Sunday, “Planning and Executing an RIS Installation” will focus on practical suggestions and guidelines to implement an RIS. Topics will include project planning, team building, vendor relationships, education and training. The hosts are Dennis Winsten, president of healthcare systems consultants Dennis Winsten & Associates Inc. (Tucson, Ariz.), and Winsten consultant John McMahan.

AHRA also has planned several breakout sessions for Sunday. David Frazee, administrative director of radiology at Pama (Ohio) Community General Hospital, discusses “Dealing with Equipment Re-sellers,” looking at common mistakes buyers make with used or refurbished equipment. Frazee repeats the session on Tuesday afternoon.

A session on “Asset Management in Radiology” is offered by Patrick F. Jordan III and Denise Palumbo, both of Radiology Consulting Group (Boston). The goal of the session is to learn to develop a business and finance program and successfully market asset management with a healthcare institution.

Winsten and McMahan return Sunday afternoon for a session on “The Impact of eCommerce and eTransactions on Radiology Department Management.” The forum is designed to help providers understand the services and options that are available, as well as the technical, economic and operations issues associated with this technology.

“Enhancing Radiology Service” is hosted by Ronald Doncaster, also of Radiology Consulting Group. By focusing on patient services and reducing costs, Doncaster says a healthcare facility can compete more effectively in its marketplace. The course will discuss ways to achieve that goal without compromising healthcare. Doncaster returns Wednesday afternoon for an encore.

On Sunday and Monday, Ken Waldbillig, PACS operations manager for Data General Corp. (Westborough, Mass.), reports on “PACS at the Turn of the Century.” As picture archiving and communications systems become more prevalent, users will need to know how to make the best of their use for the ultimate benefit of the patient.

Monday’s agenda
Monday’s schedule begins at 9 a.m. with the keynote address from John Cassis, president of the Cassis Group. The topic is “Balancing the Challenges of Change” with an emphasis on positive ways people can adapt to change, become more proactive with changes in the workplace and use economic and technology changes to one’s advantage.

In the afternoon, “Evaluating Managed Care Agreements” is one of two learning intensive offerings. Maria K. Todd, president and CEO of Health Pro Consulting Consortium Inc. (Aurora, Colo.), provides practical advice and detailed methods for decision-makers to become more comfortable with the language in managed care provider agreements. Todd returns with this session on Tuesday morning.

“Does APC Compute in Your Radiology Department?” That’s the question Regents’ Maier will answer in this Breakout Session. The proposed Medicare ambulatory payment classification (APC) system goes into effect this year for outpatient radiology service in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. This course will cover APC rules, reimbursements and classifications.

Digital radiography is the topic for Barry Burns’ presentation, “Changes in Exposure Factors When Working with Digital Radiography.” The associate professor at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.) will address issues common to all digital radiography systems and the unique challenges to the radiographer whose education and experience has been in conventional film/screen imaging.

Healthcare Radiology Administrators (AHRA)

111 Boston Post Road
Suite 105
Sudbury, MA 01776
Tel: 800-334-2472
Fax: 978-443-8046

Membership: Approximately 4,000

President: James D. Mace, FAHRA
President-Elect: DiAnne Wallace, FAHRA
Executive Director: Mary S. Reitter

Tuesday’s schedule
Tuesday’s highlights include “Strategic Technology Planning Case Studies” with David A. Berkowitz, director of the Healthcare Solutions Group with Varian Medical Systems Inc. (Palo Alto, Calif.). Attendees will learn about the challenges facing healthcare providers in radiation therapy and a method to develop a long-term strategic technology plan for radiation therapy.

Image management is the subject for three breakout sessions Tuesday afternoon. Darren Sack, corporate manager for medical imaging with Partners HealthCare Systems Inc. (Boston), reviews “Electronic Image Administration.” The course will discuss personnel, as well as operational and technical components of managing a PACS.

Also with a real world look at “PACS, the Hospital Experience” is Enrico Perez, director of medical imaging at New York Presbyterian (New York). Perez will provide a first-hand perspective of his facility’s experience of purchasing, installing and utilizing a PACS and how the system has affected the institution over the last three years.

Victoria Bedel, applications manager for the University of Pittsburgh (Pa.) Medical Center (UPMG), presents “RIS for Today, Tomorrow and the Future.” The forum

will review selection criteria for an RIS and discuss the importance of integration and system scalability.

Wednesday sessions
Wednesday morning’s Breakout Sessions will feature Blaine Lester, director of education at UPMG Lee Regional (Johnston, Pa.), and his forum on “Service Excellence: What Works in Radiology.” Patients today are becoming better educated and more demanding over the quality of their healthcare. Lester offers advice on how a provider can be more patient oriented.

Create a more effective work group environment and “Energize Your Employees” is the topic for Howard Rohan, a human resources consultant for the Gallager and Kennedy law firm (Phoenix). Rohan plans to explore value systems and their effect on leadership style, compensation and performance measurement systems.

Gary Reed, president and CEO of Integration Resources Inc. (Lebanon, N.J.), can help with “Planning for a Multi-Imaging Center” relative to a PACS. Using the experience of planning, configuring and cost justification of a PACS for a radiology practice serving 10 metropolitan imaging centers, Reed will discuss database access, display requirements, Web-based products and related topics. The session is repeated on Thursday.

“Voice Recognition ? It’s Not Just Talk” for Gerard Durney, administrative director of radiology, and Karen Mount, assistant administrator of radiology, at Saint Barnabas Medical Center (Livingston, N.J.). The pair explain the fundamentals of voice recognition technology, as well as the implementation of interfaces and hardware.

“Financial Benchmarking” plays as important a role in healthcare institutions as outcomes analysis. Leonard Levine, of the Radiology Consulting Group, provides a detailed methodology that can help a facility get a better understanding of a radiology department’s unit costs and where improvements can be made.

Thursday wrap-up
On the final day of the conference, Stewart C. Bushong, professor of radiology science at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston), presents “Multislice Spiral CT: Performance Evaluation and Purchase decisions.” Bushong focuses on areas, such as slip-ring technology, high-frequency power generation and megaheat capacity X-ray tubes.

Douglas R. Luckett, vice president of human resources at Crittenden Memorial Hospital (West Memphis, Ark.), offers insights on “Recruitment and Retention for a Changing Environment in Medical Imaging.” Luckett will provide staff retention techniques, advice on what makes a good employer and tools to attract talented qualified candidates for hire.

The Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) is the topic for Sandra Sackrison, director of medical imaging at Greater Hazelton (Pa.) Health Alliance, who will review final MQSA guidelines and cover additional requirements for compliance and personnel. She also will focus on possible inspection pitfalls and how to fine-tune criteria compliance.end.gif (810 bytes)