In the new Congress, ASRT will continue to pursue consistent federal and state education and certification standards for medical imaging and radiation therapy technical personnel.
There will be some changes in strategy that the ASRT will be using in moving forward with the pursuit of consistent federal and state education and certification standards. As many of you are aware, the political gridlock in Washington, D.C. has made it difficult to pass any legislation, including “common sense” measures like the CARE bill. As a result, ASRT will set CARE aside and pursue new tactical strategies toward achieving our goal.
ASRT plans to pursue the insertion of amendatory language that incorporates the CARE bill’s principles into any federal bill that includes Medicare provisions. This includes bills addressing sequestration, the debt ceiling and entitlement reform. This new strategy allows us to jump the “regular order” of the legislative process and gives us greater flexibility and more options to push education and certification standards to enactment. If the CARE bill is introduced as stand-alone legislation, ASRT will continue to strongly support the CARE bill. There are many different ways to get to our end goal of consistent federal education and certification standards and stand-alone bill introduction may increase our opportunities.
In addition to pursuing education and certification standards for medical imaging and radiation therapy, ASRT is committed to the enactment of the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA) that will require CMS to set payment policies for the radiologist assistant. ASRT will also support legislation that protects radiologic technologists, enhances patient safety and offers appropriate reimbursement for medical imaging and radiation therapy services.
ASRT members will continue to play a vital role in promoting ASRT’s federal agenda and in supporting the renewed focus on state advocacy efforts. The relationships ASRT members have built over the years with representatives and senators on Capitol Hill and their staffs will assist us in targeting the lawmakers who can best identify moving legislation, propose and manage the amendatory language. It is vital for success that all R.T.s keep these lines of communication open and maintain strong relationships on Capitol Hill.
In addition to the new strategy for pursuit of federal and state education and certification standards, the ASRT has made some structural changes in staff to integrate our government relations efforts with our initiatives at the state affiliate level and help strengthen our overall advocacy efforts at the state level. The Government Relations and Public Policy Department has been moved from the Executive Division into the Governance and Development Division. Christine Lung, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy and her team will join the Governance and Development Division, with Liana Watson, Chief Governance and Development Officer providing executive oversight for the Division. This change provides ASRT an opportunity to strengthen support for affiliate activities with a concerted effort to build a successful legislative program for affiliates
ASRT looks forward to working with all R.T.s on continued efforts in advocating for medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals on the federal and state levels!
CARE Bill Introduced in 113th Congress
In the House of Representatives on March 13, Representative Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., introduced the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy bill also known as the CARE Bill. This marks the eighth time the bill has been introduced in the House in the past 13 years. H.R. 1146 would set federal education and certification standards in the Medicare program for the technical personnel providing, planning and delivering all medical imaging examinations and radiation therapy treatments. Click here for the full article.
Federal RA Reimbursement Bill Introduced
The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA), H.R. 1148, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14. The legislation would allow facilities to bill Medicare for medical imaging services performed by qualified radiologist assistants under the direction of a supervising radiologist. Introduced by Reps. Dave Reichert, R-Wash.; Jim Matheson, D-Utah; Pete Olson, R-Texas; and Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., H.R. 1148 would set standards within the Medicare program for services provided by radiology physician extenders, reduce existing RA supervision restrictions and allow facilities to be reimbursed for the services RAs perform at 85 percent of the existing physician fee schedule rate.
Click here for the full article.