ABOUT THE RA LEGISLATION
In February 2016, Representatives Pete Olson (R-TX), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) introduced the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act, H.R. 4614, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan bill proposes changes to radiologist assistant (RA) supervision levels.
Currently, Medicare only reimburses for medical imaging services that an RA performs if a radiologist is present in the room. The legislation would allow reimbursements for medical imaging services that qualified RAs perform under a supervising radiologist’s direction in accordance with state law.
In May 2016, Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced a companion bill, S. 2940, in the U.S. Senate.
WHY IS THIS BILL IMPORTANT?
There is a growing demand for medical imaging services among patients, including those who rely on Medicare. Current reimbursement laws, however, can make it difficult for Medicare patients to gain access to such services in a timely manner. If passed, the new law would allow hospitals to be reimbursed for medical imaging services performed by RAs without a radiologist in the room. In addition, the law would enable Medicare beneficiaries to receive the same timely and high quality care as patients who don’t use Medicare.
WHO SUPPORTS THE BILL?
H.R. 4614 and S. 2940 have no opponents and enjoy the full support of the medical imaging community. Two of the main selling points are that the bill won’t cost anything and that it promises to improve timely access to high-quality care. View a list of the current co-sponsors.
ARRT, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Society for Radiology Physician Extenders (SRPE), and these organizations support the bills.
HOW ARRT IS INVOLVED
Since early 2009, ARRT has taken a lead role in working to change the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) reimbursement requirements to make RAs more viable in the marketplace. We continue to work with lobbyists who have strong advocacy experience with CMS and Congress, and we’re partnering with ASRT, ACR, and SRPE.
If you have questions about the bills or would like to learn more about our lobbying efforts, contact our Government Affairs Department.