April 9, 2010 - As breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) becomes increasingly important as a method for screening women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer, the American College of Radiology (ACR) is addressing the need for regulating the technique.
On May 10, 2010 the ACR will launch its Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging Accreditation Program (BMRAP). The program was developed by the ACR Committee on Breast MRI Accreditation. Like other ACR accreditation programs, BMRAP enables facilities to improve and maintain the quality of their breast MRI services through a peer-review assessment of their processes, equipment, and the quality of their images. For facilities that solely offer breast imaging services, the new program also fulfills any applicable accreditation requirements under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.
“Breast MRI is an important part of providing quality breast imaging care and is specifically recommended to screen women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer. This program will help patients and their providers identify practices that provide high quality breast MRI. This accreditation program sets quality standards for breast MRI providers and helps them continuously improve patient care by evaluating the qualifications of personnel, equipment performance, effectiveness of quality control measures, and image quality,” said Constance Lehman, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the ACR Committee on Breast MRI Accreditation.
Facilities must submit clinical images and corresponding data for each magnet performing breast MRI examinations at their site. Facilities performing breast MRI must have the capacity to perform mammographic correlation, directed breast ultrasound, and MRI-guided intervention, or create a referral arrangement with a cooperating facility that could provide these services. The cooperating facility must be accredited by the ACR in breast MRI (or, until May 10, 2011, has had an application for breast MRI accreditation accepted by the ACR).
“As the most widely recognized medical imaging accrediting body for more than 20 years, ACR accreditation programs are recognized by patients and payers as the industry gold standard and a sign of an extraordinary commitment to quality care,” said ACR Chief Executive Officer Harvey L. Neiman. “More than 200 facilities have already expressed interest in participating in the ACR Breast MRI Accreditation Program and soon after May 10 will receive instructions on how to get started. We are very excited to offer this new breast MRI accreditation program and look forward to working with facilities to help them offer the highest quality patient care,” said Neiman.
The ACR has accredited more than 20,000 facilities nationwide and has added to its staff of certified radiologic technologists to help providers through all stages of the accreditation process. The ACR Accreditation Hotline is staffed by highly trained radiologic technologists, with a minimum of 4-6 years of field experience, to help facilities at every step of the accreditation process. ACR does not require a fee to access the application or an annual fee. More than 90 percent of accredited facilities renew their accreditation following their initial three-year term due to ACR’s solid reputation among payers, providers, and patients.
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