Radiologist Assistant Included in CMS Final Rule
November 5, 2018
The Radiology Physician Extender community just passed a huge milestone in our quest to become a recognized midlevel radiology provider. On November 1, 2018 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Final Rule regarding the Radiologist Assistant (RA). The rule is the result of a “request for information” (RFI) for ways to reduce regulatory burden. The Society of Radiology Physician Extenders (SRPE), American College of Radiology (ACR), American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) sent comments regarding the personal supervision level requirements for Medicare patients caused an undue regulatory burden to Medicare patients, radiologists, hospitals, and impacted access and efficiency of care.
After consideration of these comments on the RFI, as well as information provided by stakeholders, CMS proposed to revise the regulations to specify that all diagnostic imaging tests may be furnished under the direct supervision of a physician when performed by an RA in accordance with state law and state scope of practice rules. Stakeholders representing the radiology community have provided CMS with information showing that the RA designation includes registered radiologist assistants (RRAs) who are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, and radiology practitioner assistants (RPAs) who are certified by the Certification Board for Radiology Practitioner Assistants.
CMS final rule will revise the regulation at Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §410.32 to add a new paragraph (b)(4) to state that diagnostic tests performed by an RRA or an RPA require only a direct level of physician supervision, when permitted by state law and state scope of practice regulations. The rule will go into effect January 1, 2019.
The organizations are working on guidance and educational documents so the RA community is aware of the impact of this rule and the next steps for our legislative efforts. To effectively work to the extent of our scope, the RA community will still need the legislation HR 1904 MARCA bill to pass.
“This is a huge step for the RA community!” stated Vicki Sanders, President of the SRPE. “The personal supervision level required on the technical component of the diagnostic test codes for Medicare patients was a massive regulatory burden which limited radiologists to use RAs effectively. The reduction of the supervision levels will allow RAs to do what they were trained to do thus allowing radiologists and to concentrate on complex or emergent cases. Radiologist who employ RAs will see the benefit they add to the practice.”
“The process for Radiologist Assistant federal recognition started in 2009 and this final rule represents a catalyst to finalize the much needed recognition of a crucial radiology mid-level. Still much work is needed to pass federal legislation but the CMS final rule puts the RRA and RPA on the map as a recognized radiology mid-level” states Jason Barrett SRPE Executive Chairman.
2018 SRPE Compensation and Practice Survey Report is published!
October 4, 2018
The 2018 SRPE Compensation and Practice Survey is published. SRPE members can access the free report by signing in and clicking the link under the member benefits area of the Members‘ Homepage.
The survey rsport includes:
- Reports of annual compensation by filtered by practicing, non-practicing, and overall RA compensation.
- Reports of annual compensation by employment position and status.
- Reports of annual compensation based on education level, years of employment, and employment type.
- Reports of annual compensation filtered by state.
- Benefits received by respondents.
- Demographics of respondents.
- Current procedures and patient management activites by respondents.
Highlights from the report include:
- Most respondents indicated the radiology/physician group (39.6%) was their main employer.
- Most respondent practice in not-for-profit hospitals (49.1%) with the highest percentage practicing in hospitals with over 500 beds (25.1%)
- States with the highest reported mean annual full time compensation for RAs across all current positions were New Hampshire, Kentucky and California.
- States with the lowest reported mean for RAs across all current positions were Vermont, South Carolina, and Mississippi.
- Most respondents were dual certified and held both the RRA and RPA certifications (38.2%)
- Most respondents reported being a RA for 11 to 15 years (37.1%) and in medical imaging for 21 to 25 years (25.1%).
- 49.5% for repondents reported their highest degree recieved is a Bachelor’s degree (49.5%).
For more information, please see the full report.
Veteran Affairs Recognition of the RA
The VA is almost complete with the process to recognize the RA in the VA Health System. The qualifications and standards are in the process of being approved. Once approved, the standards and qualifications will be made public and the individual health facilities can then hire the RA. The SRPE will notify the community when the documents are made public and then RAs would then need to approach the radiologists and the facility to start the job posting process.