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Federal Proposal Would Recognize Radiologist Assistants

Jul 20, 2018

ASRT Working For You | Powered by the Power of AThe American Society of Radiologic Technologists strongly supports a proposal put forth by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services that would allow radiologist assistants to practice with reduced radiologist supervision requirements, ultimately improving patient care and making radiologic procedures more efficient.

“While this proposal would undoubtedly improve patient care, it can also be seen as a significant recognition and elevation of our entire profession,” said ASRT President Melissa Jackowski, Ed. D., R.T.(R)(M), FASRT. “The ASRT and other radiologic science organizations have encouraged CMS for several years to use RAs to their fullest capacity and we’re thrilled that they heard our concerns and included the provisions in the proposal.”

Under the new proposal, RAs, advanced-level radiographers who can perform radiologic assessments and certain procedures traditionally performed by radiologists, would perform diagnostic procedures under “direct” supervision. This means a radiologist does not need to be present in the room where the procedure is taking place; however the radiologist must be in the facility and immediately available to render assistance.

The proposal gives RAs authorization to practice with fewer restrictions so radiologists can focus on interpreting urgent cases and performing procedures that are more complex. It also allows for Medicare reimbursement for procedures performed by registered radiologist assistants and radiology practitioner assistants at a reduced supervision level. Medicare currently requires certain services performed by RAs to be performed at the same “personal supervision” level that all radiologic technologists must follow even though RAs have graduate-level education and have completed a radiologist-directed clinical preceptorship and additional certification. The proposal would allow Medicare to follow the supervision levels specified in state RA licensure laws and standards, the majority of which require radiologist supervision at the direct level.

The ASRT, American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, American College of Radiology and the Society for Radiology Physician Extenders back the proposal and have worked together for more than a decade to advocate for Medicare recognition of the RA.

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