Find answers to questions you may have about ASRT's efforts to encourage legislation to strengthen the RA role and improve patient safety.
Why is the ASRT promoting RA licensure and Medicare recognition?
The rising demand and clinical need for timely medical imaging services along with the increased complexity of radiologic studies have placed considerable pressure on our health care delivery system. The radiologist assistant increases access to care for patients (especially in rural areas) by allowing radiologists to work in a more productive manner.
Currently, RAs can only perform medical imaging services if they are under personal supervision by a radiologist. Making the supervision level consistent with state laws and regulations governing RA practice will allow the RA to be more efficient, increasing access to care. Passage will ensure that patients continue to have timely access to quality medical imaging services.
What states have RA licensure?
Many states have embraced the radiology physician extender (another term for RA) community and relied upon it to provide timely imaging access. Thirty states currently license, regulate or recognize the RA, proving there is a need for the profession. Just as with other medical professionals, state laws and standards determine the RA's scope of practice and how RAs may be used by radiologists. Unfortunately, current Medicare policy undermines state authority and limits the ability of radiologists to use RAs fully and effectively. This adversely affects patient care.
What is MARCA?
The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act is an ongoing federal legislative campaign supported by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, the American College of Radiology, the Society of Radiology Physician Extenders and the ASRT that will recognize the RA as a non-physician provider under Medicare. Under the bill, state law would govern scope of practice and physician supervision levels for procedures performed by RAs.
Currently, Medicare payment policy allows RAs to perform medical imaging services only if they are under personal supervision by a radiologist. MARCA will make the Medicare supervision requirements consistent with RA state laws.
Why is passage of MARCA important?
RAs allow radiologists to devote more focused, uninterrupted time reviewing and interpreting complex medical images and providing timely diagnoses that will result in efficient, appropriate medical treatment. This means greater timeliness, accuracy and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries. Consumers demand this level of care, and Medicare beneficiaries are certainly entitled to this level of care as well.
Without Medicare's recognition of the RA, the profession is in peril. As a direct result of Medicare's policy, RAs are losing their jobs and universities are on the verge of suspending or terminating their RA training programs.
How Can I Help?
Visit ASRT's Grass-roots Advocacy Action Center and write your representative. Let them know that passage of MARCA will save money and jobs.
ASRT’s Political Action Committee makes contributions to candidates for Congress who support MARCA and radiologist assistant issues. Consider making a contribution to the ASRT-PAC.