Bipartisan Radiologist Assistant Bill Hits the House

DiagnosticImaging | A bill aimed at improving Medicare reimbursement for radiologist assistants is now wending its way through Congress.

H.R. 3032, the “Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act of 2011,” would amend the Social Security Act to recognize radiologist assistants as non-physician providers of healthcare services to Medicare beneficiaries. It would also allow reimbursement through CMS for procedures performed by RAs in states with laws establishing radiologist-assistant practice guidelines.

“With radiologist oversight, RAs are perfectly qualified to perform aspects of imaging, patient assessment, management and procedures that allow radiologists the time to focus on procedures and consultations that can be performed only by a radiologist,” said Joy Renner, radiologist assistant program director at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and chair of the Radiologist Assistants Educators Council.

By establishing a reduced reimbursement level for the professional component of procedures performed by RAs, the bill should result in savings to the healthcare system, according to officials at the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (ARRT).

“I’m happy I can help skilled students in my district find jobs by making a common-sense change to Medicare’s classification of radiologist assistants,” said Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., a bill cosponsor.

The bill is supported by ARRT as well as the American College of Radiology, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), and the Society of Radiology Physician Extenders.

“We believe this bill will preserve RA educational programs and jobs while saving needed healthcare dollars,” said ASRT president Dawn McNeil.


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