November 2017
CMS Reimbursement Rates for Outpatient CMR Set to Increase in 2018

On November 1, 2017, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Final 2018 Rule on the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS).  This rule sets forth Medicare reimbursement rates for the technical component (equipment, supplies, staffing, etc.) of services provided in the hospital outpatient setting.  In this annual rulemaking, CMS combines individual medical services (CPT codes) into Ambulatory Payment Classification (APC) groups. All services included within an individual APC group are reimbursed at the same rate.  By law, services included within an APC group are required to be similar clinically and in resource usage. SCMR is pleased to report modest increases in the 2018 technical component payment for all four CMR codes (CPT codes 75557, 75559, 75561 and 75563) over 2017 levels.  

A Task Force led by SCMR Past-President Dr. Victor Ferrari is working to revise the SCMR training guidelines. These guidelines, last updated in 2007, define the training requirements for Level 1, 2, and 3 competency in CMR.  One of the goals of the task force is to make CMR training and certification more accessible to physicians who have already completed medical training. The first step in this process was a revision of the Level 1 training requirements (  click here to view newly revised Level 1 guidelines); Level 1 competency represents knowledge of the indications for and capabilities of CMR, but not to the extent that is sufficient for independent practice and clinical interpretation.  This level of CMR knowledge is strongly recommended for all cardiologists (adult and pediatric) and radiologists, and provides essential knowledge for referring physicians such as internists, cardiac surgeons, and vascular surgeons, among others. The new requirements now define two tracks; Track A intended for fellows in training, and Track B designed for those who have completed medical training.  

Guest Editor: Jeannie Yu, MD FACC FSCCT

Sudden cardiac arrest accounts for 50% of cardiovascular deaths, and remains a grave concern for physicians and their patients of all ages and all comorbidities.  And while ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation associated with acute coronary syndromes is a known entity with which clinicians have clear guidance and etiology for management, this leaves a large percentage of events otherwise unexplained.  The medical community's success thus far in treating or preventing these incidents has been described as disappointing with an estimated out-of-hospital survival of only 10%.  The potential to make an impact in improving these statistics, therefore, continues to drive attempts to better understand the pathophysiology and mechanism of sudden cardiac death. 

Three new SCMR publications have been translated to Japanese:

Thank you to the Translation Committee, reviewers and to Toshiba Medical for proving an educational grant!  View all translated publications here

JCMR Articles

Juliet Varghese, et al.
Published on: 9 November 2017

TECHNICAL NOTES: Bayesian intravoxel incoherent motion parameter mapping in the human heart
Georg R. Spinner, et al.
Published on: 6 November 2017

RESEARCHHigh-throughput gadobutrol-enhanced CMR: a time and dose optimization study
Tommaso D'Angelo, et al.
Published on: 6 November 2017


Number 17-10: Cardiac Involvement of Myeloid Sarcoma

Zachary Laste MD, Melissa Wein MD, Dhiraj Baruah MD, Kaushik Shahir MD, Jason Rubenstein MD
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Clinical History: A 64-year-old male with history of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) status post bone marrow transplant (BMT) in complete remission presented with dyspnea when laying on his right side which resolved when supine or in the left lateral decubitus position. He also reported occasional shortness of breath with mild exertion. Only tachycardia was noted on clinical examination.  There were no clinical signs of SVC syndrome.  

Guest Editor
To Improve Cardiovascular Health by Advancing the Field of CMR