The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA)
The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA) bill would amend the Social Security Act to recognize radiologist assistants as non-physician providers of health care services to Medicare beneficiaries and would authorize physician reimbursement through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for procedures performed by radiologist assistants in states that have laws establishing radiologist assistant practice guidelines.
Radiologist assistants work under radiologist supervision and perform select imaging and patient-care duties traditionally performed by the radiologist. While they do not prescribe medication or therapies, diagnose or interpret medical images, radiologist assistants perform procedures and patient assessment and management that increase patient access to critical radiology services and augment the delivery of optimal, timely, and safe radiology care – leading to greater efficiencies and value for patients and providers.
Enactment of MARCA would:
- Promote efficiency in health care delivery. The team approach improves the quality of care and ensures timely access to diagnostic and interventional imaging procedures.
- Allow the radiologist to devote more time to interpreting exams and concentrating on more complex or urgent cases. The radiologist assistant has advanced education and training so they can expertly and safely perform radiologic assessments and certain procedures that traditionally were only performed by radiologists.
- Save Medicare money. Radiologists would bill the Medicare program for radiologist assistant services, but the services performed by a radiologist assistant would be reimbursed at a lower rate than that of radiologists, thus saving Medicare money.
- Increase jobs. Passage of MARCA will cause an increase in the desire and demand for radiology physician extenders. Currently, radiologist assistants are losing their jobs and university radiologist assistant programs are on the verge of being suspended or terminated.
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