According to ASRT, the issue is: The rising demand and clinical need for timely medical imaging services and the increased complexity of radiologic studies have created high demand for radiology services. At the same time, the Medicare program is looking to identify value-based, efficient solutions to improve patient outcomes.
While radiologist assistants (RAs) are newly recognized under Medicare to perform services under direct supervision as part of a Radiologist-led team, the radiology practices who employ them are unable to submit claims to Medicare for most RA performed services in hospitals and office settings where they normally work. Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA)H.R.3657/S.2641 –introduced in the House by Reps. Mike Doyle (D-PA) and John Curtis (R-UT) and in the Senate by Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Steve Daines (R-MT).
Prior to 2019, CMS required personal supervision by a physician when a radiographer performed certain procedures. Previous versions of this legislation focused on reducing the supervision level required for RAs to perform radiologic procedures defined via a state-recognized scope of practice. In the CY 2019 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Final Rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognized RAs as a member of the Radiologist-led team who can provide services under revised supervision levels. However, legislation is still needed to allow radiologists to submit claims to Medicare for non-diagnostic services performed by RAs they directly supervise in both the hospital and office setting, as well as diagnostic services in hospitals.
This new MARCA bill language allows RAs to be fully utilized in radiology practices to provide high quality, efficient, and cost-effective care to patients. An RA is an advanced-level radiographer, and performs procedures under the direct supervision of a radiologist. Read more:ASRT's Advocacy Center to ask your state representative to become a co-sponsor of HR 3657.