Advocacy at-a-Glance and Capitol Hill Day: What You Need to Know About ACR 2018

ACR 2018 is steadily approaching! This year, the meeting will revert to its previous format where emphasis will be placed on governance and the business of advocating for radiology.

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Advocacy kicks off the morning of Sunday, May 20. The RFS will host its own advocacy session where RADPAC® will discuss the integral role that trainees play in defining our profession’s future. RADPAC will also do a similar presentation at the YPS meeting on Sunday morning, stressing the importance of becoming involved in advocacy efforts early in one’s career. In addition to the RADPAC portion of the RFS meeting’s advocacy session, the Radiology Advocacy Network (RAN) will discuss the integral role it plays in our advocacy efforts and ways to get involved. Advocacy at the state level will be discussed Sunday afternoon from 3:00-4:00 p.m., during a session titled “State Government Relations Strategies and Opportunities to Strengthen Your Advocacy Program.”

On Monday, May 21, a RAN meeting for all of its state leaders will take place from 4:45-5:45 p.m. The RAN Radvocacy tweet chat will take place on Tuesday, May 22, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET, on “Scope of Practice/Physician Extenders.” For those interested in participating in the tweet chat, please include the hashtag #radvocacy for all tweets.

The afternoon of May 22 will include the ACRA® Legislative Update and Capitol Hill issues briefing where detailed talking points will be provided for lobbying on the Hill. This session, taking place from 3:30-5:00 p.m., will include an overview of the key legislative and regulatory issues that are currently affecting radiology and tips for radiologists participating in ACR’s Lobby Day for the first time. All ACR members who are visiting their senators and representatives on Capitol Hill should attend this session in order to understand the key messages they’ll be delivering to Congress. The session will also include a panel discussion that will cover a review of how previous and current administrations navigated disruptions during their terms, as well as a preview of issues that may be addressed in the upcoming 116th Congress.

Summaries of this year’s Hill Day issues are as follows:

H.R. 1298, the CT Colonography (CTC) Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act
This bill mandates Medicare coverage of CTC without any form of cost-sharing (co-payments, co-insurance, or deductibles). Per the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), private insurers (both in the individual and group (employer) markets) are required to cover CTC without cost sharing due to the fact that colon cancer screening services, in general, received a Grade of “A” from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). However, Medicare is not bound by the same mandatory coverage requirements within PPACA and relies on a National Coverage Determination (NCD) process to add services without cost-sharing. This legislation would alleviate the need for any NCDs which, thus far, neither the Obama, nor Trump administrations, have initiated despite the positive USPSTF grade for this particular screening service. While the House bill currently has 50 bipartisan cosponsors, a Senate bill is still forthcoming.

Radiology Assistant (RA)-Radiology Practitioner Assistant (RPA) Legislation (H.R. 1904/S. 769, the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA))
Amends the Social Security Act to recognize RAs/RPAs as non-physician providers of healthcare services to Medicare beneficiaries. Bipartisan legislation, specifically H.R. 1904 and S. 769, the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA), has been introduced that would enable radiologists to use RAs in the treatment of Medicare beneficiaries under the physician supervision standards established by their respective states. This legislation currently has the full support of all stakeholders in the medical imaging community, including the ACR, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, the Society of Radiology Physician Extenders, and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. RAs always practice under the onsite supervision of a radiologist, thus ensuring high quality care. Their advanced education and training enable them to perform assessments and procedures (excluding interpretations) that traditionally are performed by the radiologist. As the number of Medicare beneficiaries grows, the need for patient access to radiology services will also grow. This legislation enables Medicare beneficiaries to receive the same timely, high-quality care as non-Medicare patients.

On Tuesday evening, the RADPAC reception for all donors will be held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel from 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Following the RADPAC reception, the annual VIP Thank You Dinner will be held at the Italian Embassy.

As always, the Wednesday of the meeting marks the Hill Day visits. Please be sure to contact your state radiological society point person if you are interested in joining other advocates from your state who are meeting with their federal elected officials.

Again this year, we will look to integrate our advocacy efforts with our digital presence to strengthen our voices on this crucial day of the meeting. We encourage you to tweet and Facebook post either on your own personal account on Twitter, on the RAN Facebook page, or through the ACR RAN app as it has the option of linking your personal social media accounts to the app. The app also includes talking points for Hill Day, a directory of your elected officials, quick access to respond to calls to action if you need to contact your elected officials about timely radiology legislation, and ways to support RADPAC. The RAN will be inviting all Hill Day attendees to participate in its third annual Hill Day Twitter Pic Contest. This year, there will be a prize for the winning tweet! Be sure to tag the @ACRRAN twitter handle on all tweets and include the hashtag #ACRHillDay2018.

Of note, many of our members of Congress who have been radiology champions for our profession will not be running for re-election. These include Reps. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., Diane Black, R-Tenn., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Kristi Noem, R-S.D., Charlie Dent, R-Pa., Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., Ryan Costello, R-Pa., Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Thad Cochran, R-Miss. If given the opportunity, please thank them and their staff teams for their support throughout the years.

Visit the ACR 2018 page for the full schedule of advocacy related sessions at the meeting and for more information on Capitol Hill Day.

Visit the RADPAC site for more information on ACR 2018 RADPAC events including the reception and VIP Thank You Dinner.

Visit the Engage page for more information regarding the RAN.

We hope you participate in our comprehensive advocacy efforts at ACR 2018. Thank you for your tireless and unwavering commitment to our profession.


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By Amy Patel, MD, Breast Radiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Instructor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School

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