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An Overview of the Resolution Process
The ACR has a unique place among radiologic organizations, as the College is member-driven. Members generate the policies that guide the actions of the College through the process of resolutions. Each year at the annual meeting, the 373-member legislative body of the College —the Council — reviews and votes on resolutions that will become the policies that will guide the College. The topics of the resolutions are broad and each resolution starts with a member, or group of members, working with the Council through a member’s representative councilors and alternate councilors, ACR chapter, or College leadership.
As stated in the ACR’s guide “How to Write a Resolution,” “resolutions are designed to explain background information on a particular issue, and propose a logical course of action to address that issue.” A member or group of members identify an issue which the member or members would like addressed by the College. If the College does not have current policy regarding the issue or if the policy needs to be updated, the member will then craft a resolution and submit the resolution to ACR staff for consideration by the Council no later than 90 days prior to the start of the ACR annual meeting. It is important to note that resolutions require sponsorship from an individual councilor, ACR chapter, CSC, or BOC.
Once a resolution has been submitted, the process begins with a staff review and the resolution is assigned to a reference committee by the Speaker for review and presentation to the Council at the annual meeting. Reference committees play a vital role in the life cycle of a resolution and are a mechanism for each resolution to receive a fair and open hearing. The process of reference committee review involves an open hearing for every submitted resolution, which “may be attended by all members of the College, guests, official observers and others.” This is an opportunity for all members to express their opinions about a resolution. After the open mic hearing, the reference committee will conduct an executive (closed) session and make a decision on if the resolution should be recommended to the Council for adoption.
The proceedings of a reference committee become a report and a consent calendar, which is present to the Council for action. Those resolutions which the reference committee feel should become College policy are slated for Council adoption as part of the approval of the consent calendar. It is important to note that councilors can “extract” resolutions for further discussion on the floor of the Council and subsequent vote by the Council. Extracted resolutions can be resolutions that a reference committee recommends or does not recommend for Council adoption. This provides an additional mechanism for a member’s voice to be heard. Councilors will then vote on a resolution either through the process of a reference committee’s consent calendar adoption or via a vote on the resolution after extraction and discussion by the Council. The resolution will become College policy if adopted by Council.
Members have an additional mechanism to discuss and generate support for any resolution though the caucus system. A caucus is a meeting of a subset of the members (e.g., the RFS) during which resolutions are discussed. Any resolution can potentially be discussed and through this discussion members can determine the level of support for a resolution from this member subset. Additionally, resolution sponsors can use this mechanism to answer questions about a resolution and potentially increase support.
If a resolution is adopted by the Council, it becomes policy of the College and is recorded in the Digest of Council Actions. The Digest of Council Actions is an historical document that includes a full listing of all of the Council’s adopted policies. Resolutions included within this document cover a wide range of topics. An adopted policy will be up for sunset review 10 years from the adoption date to determine whether the policy is still relevant to the College or requires updating by amendment. Further, the Practice Parameters and Technical Standards (PPTS) published by the College begin as resolutions. Each proposed PPTS is presented to a reference committee and subsequently to the Council through the above process. Pre-existing policies may also be brought before the Council for review through this process.
The ACR is a member-driven organization. The resolution process provides a voice for each ACR member and gives every member a mechanism to help guide the actions of the College as the ACR serves the specialty.
Colin M. Segovis, MD, PhD is a member of the CSC and the past chair of the RFS Executive Committee. He is a radiologist at Emory University.