Senator Boozman at UAMS to Support Radiologist Assistants
July 29, 2016 | U.S. Sen. John Boozman said Friday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) that legislation he is sponsoring in Congress would increase patient access to care by allowing radiologist assistants to be reimbursed for certain procedures that have traditionally been performed by radiologists.
The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA) would recognize radiologist assistants, including certified radiology practitioner assistants, as non-physician providers of health care services and allow reimbursement for their services. Currently, Medicare only pays for such services if they are performed under the personal supervision of a radiologist.
“We simply have to figure out how we can extend professionals as far as they can go,” Boozman said. “You have to be able to practice to the fullest extent of your ability and the licensure of your state, because we are rapidly losing providers for all kinds of different reasons, and then again, we’re rapidly increasing patients.”
The legislation would allow radiologist assistants to work more independently and efficiently and allow radiologists to focus on reviewing and interpreting complex medical images and attending to urgent cases.
UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., said the change would enable radiology staff to function at the top of their licensure.
“That’s one of our principles for health system redesign and team-based care – is that each person’s time and effort is matched with the level of training required to do what they do … and we should have a framework that financially recognizes the benefit to patients and to the system as a whole,” Rahn said.
The UAMS College of Health Professions has one of only six radiologist assistant programs in the United States. Since 2005, the college’s Radiologic Imaging Sciences/Radiologist Assistant program has graduated 41 radiologist assistants, who have advanced training to perform procedures traditionally performed by radiologists.
“Thank you, Sen. Boozman, for your leadership in sponsoring MARCA,” said Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., dean of the UAMS College of Health Professions.
Also thanking Boozman were James McDonald, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Radiology in the UAMS College of Medicine; and Cindy Saylors, M.Ed., director of the UAMS Radiologist Assistant Program.
By Amy Widner| July 29th, 2016
SRPE member appointed to the Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed SRPE member Jennifer Flanagan, to the Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology. The board is responsible for regulating the practice of radiologic technology.
Jennifer Flanagan of Fort Worth is a registered radiologist assistant at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She is a member of the Texas Society of Radiologic Technologists, Society of Radiology Physician Extenders, and American Society of Radiologic Technologists. Flanagan received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in radiologic sciences from Midwestern State University.
VA seeking comments for proposed rule for NPs
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has introduced a proposal that would allow nurses to, "Order, perform, supervise, and interpret laboratory and imaging studies."
The SRPE strongly opposes this measure as only registered radiologic technologists and Radiologist Assistants (RAs) should perform procedures that use ionizing radiation. Furthermore, only radiologists should provide interpretations of medical images to ensure appropriate diagnosis.
Although certified nurse practitioners (NPs) are highly trained healthcare professionals in the area of general medicine, they lack the education, experience or skills required to perform highly technical procedures like fluoroscopy, x-ray, computed tomography, nuclear medicine, vascular-interventional, or bone densitometry.
The Radiologist Assistant (RA) is uniquely qualified radiologist physician extender. The RA is a registered radiologic technologist who has completed advanced didactic and clinical education in the specialized area of medical imaging. RAs work under the supervision of a radiologist and have specific education and training in radiation safety, radiobiology, positioning, fluoroscopic operation, imaging appropriateness, radiologic procedures, and radiopharmacetuicals.
The SRPE encourages the most appropriate physician extender, performing to the extent of their education and training, to provide care to our nation's veterans. In medical imaging, the RA is the only physician extender with specific education and training to provide safe effective care to veterans under the supervision of a radiologist.
Please encourage RAs and RTs to write the federal register and oppose this proposed rule.
Senator Boozman Introduced S. 2940 Senate Companion to HR 4614!
John Boozman, Republican Senator from Arkansas, introduced S. 2940, Senate companion bill to HR 4614, on May 17th.
Senator Casey (D-PA) has agreed to be the orginial Democratic sponsor which shows true bipartisan cooperation. The ARRT, ASRT, ACR, and SRPE was at a press conference to announce the introduction of the bill with Senator Boozman.
Please feel free to share this news, and ask others to contact their Senators to ask for their support of Senator Boozman's S. 2940 the companion bill to HR 4614.