News | January 27, 2010

CMS Selects ACR as Accrediting Organization for Imaging Facilities

January 26, 2010 ? As tens of thousands of medical imaging facilities seek accreditation by the January 1, 2012 deadline, it is increasingly important that facilities choose an accrediting body that can help providers meet the new the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements.

CMS recently selected the American College of Radiology (ACR) as a designated accrediting organization for medical imaging facilities. Medical imaging sites can now achieve accreditation from the nation’s oldest and a widely recognized medical imaging and radiation oncology accrediting body. The ACR will be able to satisfy all accreditation requirements for providers of advanced medical imaging mandated by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA).

The ACR stands ready to help providers comply with CMS’ requirement that all providers of CT, MRI, PET and nuclear medicine exams who bill for the technical component under the fee schedule be accredited by Jan. 1, 2012, in order to be reimbursed by Medicare for these services.

The expanded ACR Web site accreditation section features information to help facilities start the accreditation process and answer pertinent questions. The ACR has augmented its staff of certified radiologic technologists to readily guide providers through the accreditation process.

“With nearly 20,000 accredited facilities across the United States, the ACR is the only accrediting body with the unique experience and significant infrastructure to help such large numbers of providers meet the new CMS accreditation standard in a timely, efficient manner,” James H. Thrall, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors stated.

ACR accreditation is an efficient process of both self-assessment and independent external expert audit, based on the ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards, which assesses the qualifications of personnel, policies and procedures, equipment specifications, quality assurance (QA) activities, patient safety, and ultimately the quality of patient care. ACR accreditation signifies that the physicians supervising and interpreting medical imaging meet certain education and training standards. ACR accreditation also requires that the imaging equipment is surveyed regularly by qualified medical physicists to ensure that it is functioning properly, and that the technologists administering the tests are appropriately certified.

“ACR accreditation is the gold standard for medical imaging and radiation oncology accreditation ? widely recognized by public and private payers as well as the American public as a hallmark of safe, quality care. ACR accreditation presents an opportunity for providers and facilities to demonstrate to their communities, patients, payers, and referring physicians that they are committed to providing the best care possible and satisfy the new government accreditation requirements in an efficient manner,” said Thrall.

The ACR has a long history of providing accreditation for diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology going back as far as 1963. In 1994, the ACR became the only national accrediting body for mammography accreditation approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Mammography Quality Standards Act. Quality standards for mammography facilities have been credited with saving tens of thousands of women’s lives. In addition to mammography, the ACR currently has programs to accredit MRI, CT, nuclear medicine, PET, ultrasound, and radiation oncology, as well as stereotactic breast biopsy and breast ultrasound.

ACR accreditation assesses the overall quality of a practice, including personnel, equipment, QA activities, and ultimately the quality of patient care. The purpose of these programs is to set quality standards for practices and help them continuously improve the quality of care they provide to their patients. ACR accreditation programs provide an objective, peer reviewed assessment of facilities through evaluation of personnel qualifications, equipment requirements, quality assurance and quality control procedures, and evaluation of clinical and phantom image quality.

“I strongly urge medical imaging providers to begin the accreditation process as early as possible. Not only will this help them maintain and improve the quality of care they provide to patients, but it will help them avoid the rush to gain accreditation that will almost surely occur as the Jan. 1, 2012, accreditation deadline approaches,” said Thrall. “The ACR is the most trusted imaging accreditation body in the nation and is the organization to partner with to satisfy the new accreditation requirements in the most efficient way possible.”

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