French government's stigmatizing radiology, says FNMR

France's national union of independent radiologists (Fédération nationale de médecins radiologues FNMR) has again accused the government of unfair bias, this time with regard to its latest revenue and charges report for the private sector. It claims the government is stigmatizing radiology by the manipulation of these figures.

"The government's research directorate (Direction de la recherche, des Ă©tudes, de l'Ă©valuation et des statistiques, DREES) assessed 5,774 radiologists practicing independently, while the National Medical Council only lists 4,004 private radiologists. The DREES is therefore factoring in doctors with mixed disciplines and hospital doctors, the latter two categories having few or no charges. Therefore, the final result for private radiologists' revenue and charges is false," stated FNMR in a press release issued on 13 September.

The statement claims the 5,774 doctors assessed included nuclear medicine doctors and radiotherapists. In its report, the DREES specified that radiologists' revenue increased 3.5% in 2015, compared with the 3.4% increase in the revenue of all specialists, but that nuclear medicine doctors' revenue increased 4.5% while radiotherapists increased 13%.

The FNMR claimed the charges incurred by private radiologists, as listed in the report, is divorced from reality: The rate of imaging charges fixed by the national medical insurance fund (Caisse Nationale d'Assurance Maladie, CNAM) in 1999 has not changed since that time, which ignores the increases applied to staff salaries, equipment, maintenance, and taxes over the past 18 years, it noted.

"The CNAM has factored in charges of 58% when the reality is more in the region of 70%," the FNMR wrote.

These charges represent a large investment channeled from radiologists' own funds in order to offer their patients imaging exams on equipment of optimal quality, safety, performance, and innovation, according to the statement, which also pointed to the ongoing rise in imaging due to an increasing and aging population, and the need for requesting doctors to access rapid and reliable diagnostic results.

The union claims that since 1999, often it has requested an objective study on charges and revenue for independent radiologists, noting in 2007 that an amendment to the medical convention was signed with the aim of establishing such a study, but so far this has not been implemented.

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