Radiology coding, reimbursement, and economics: a practical playbook for housestaff

J Am Coll Radiol. 2009 Sep;6(9):643-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2009.04.011.


As radiologists-in-training, residents and fellows have little time to devote to understanding the complex and often confusing world of reimbursement and radiology economics. At best, housestaff are afforded only a modicum of exposure to the economics of medicine. Although most training programs try to provide some information on the subject, between learning radiology, taking call, and juggling life outside the hospital, the majority of residents and fellows have little time or energy to learn about the economics of radiology. Furthermore, information on medical economics and radiology has only occasionally been directed specifically to housestaff or widely distributed to residents across the country. This is unfortunate because the reimbursement and economic arena will significantly affect daily practice, relationships with other specialties, and compensation. In this article, the authors briefly describe the current reimbursement and economic climate: how we got here and where we may be headed, with specific attention to coding for radiologic services. In addition, and perhaps more important, the authors highlight aspects of residents' or fellows' daily practice that may have the potential to affect reimbursement in their years of practice ahead, such as proper dictation and coding techniques, the importance of adhering to new reporting guidelines, and the need for increased radiologist involvement in professional and community activities. The authors also emphasize measures that can be taken, specifically by housestaff, to promote and preserve the image of our specialty, which ultimately is intertwined with the reimbursement and economics of our field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Current Procedural Terminology*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / classification*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / economics*
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement / economics*
  • Internship and Residency / economics*
  • Radiology / economics*
  • United States