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MARCA Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

May 21, 2019

Sen. John Boozman introduced Senate Bill 1544, a U.S. Senate version of the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act, on May 20, 2019. The bill is a companion to House Resolution 1970, introduced by Rep. Mike Doyle in March. The proposed legislation would allow radiologists to submit claims to Medicare for non-imaging services performed by radiologist assistants in hospital and office settings, as well as imaging services in hospitals.

If enacted, MARCA would offer Medicare recognition of RAs and radiologist practitioner assistants as midlevel providers of health care services working under the supervision of a radiologist. The American Society of Radiologic Technologists supports the bill, along with more than 100 national state and local organizations and companies, including the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, American College of Radiology and the Society for Radiology Physician Extenders.

Medicare recently revised its rules to allow RAs to perform services under “direct supervision.” This means a radiologist does not need to be present in the room where the exam is taking place; however the radiologist must be in the facility and immediately available to render assistance. However, the radiology practices that employ them are unable to submit claims to Medicare for services performed by RAs in hospitals and office settings, where they normally work.

An RA is an advanced-level radiographer who performs procedures under the direct supervision of a radiologist. RAs must complete a rigorous academic program encompassing a nationally recognized curriculum, a radiologist-directed clinical preceptorship and a certification examination. RAs advanced education and training enable them to perform assessments and procedures, but they cannot interpret images or prescribe medications or therapies. RAs allow radiologists to focus on interpretations, thus enhancing patient safety and outcomes.

Visit the ASRT Advocacy Action Center to learn how you can contact your lawmakers and ask them to support MARCA.

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