News | Radiology Business | May 18, 2016

U.S. Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation Supporting Radiology Assistants

Companion bill to Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act would require Medicare coverage of procedures performed by radiology assistants

MACRA, bipartisan legislation, Medicare coverage, radiology assistants

May 17, 2016 — U.S. Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.) announced the introduction of bipartisan companion legislation to H.R. 4614, the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act of 2016 (“MARCA”). The companion legislation, designated S.2940, authorizes Medicare coverage of procedures performed by radiology assistants (RAs) in states that have laws licensing and establishing the expanded role of RAs.

Medicare is trying to identify value-based, efficient solutions to improve patient outcomes. The RA role is an example of such a solution. RAs extend the reach of medical staff, enabling on-site radiologists to focus on the services that only radiologists can provide. This bill preserves medical education programs, jobs and patient access to medical imaging services. These patient access challenges are certain to worsen as the number of Medicare beneficiaries grows.

“Utilizing the expertise of radiology assistants is critical to healthcare delivery. These healthcare professionals are well qualified to address the increased demand in medical imaging services and fill the gap in the shortage of radiologists, particularly in rural areas. Ensuring the procedures performed by RAs are covered by Medicare is commonsense to providing seniors with the specialized services they deserve,” Boozman said.

H.R. 4614 is bipartisan legislation that was introduced by Congressmen Pete Olson (R-Texas); Mike Doyle (D-Pa.); Reichert (R-Wash.) and Pascrell (D-N.J.). The House bill has 25 bipartisan cosponsors.

Boozman was joined at the press conference by radiologists from institutions throughout Arkansas, as well as the heads of various supporting organizations, including the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).

For more information: www.arrt.org

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