The Value of ACR Membership
A Call to Action
With over 37,000 members, there are many reasons to join the ACR. While each benefit adds to the collective value of ACR membership, two characteristics distinguish the College among radiological organizations: foresight and leadership.
The College is constantly striving to develop programs, products, and services that address the changing landscape of radiology and health care. For instance, the ACR Appropriateness Criteria®, which were first developed over 20 years ago, are now integrated into recent federally mandated clinical decision support systems. Beginning in 2017, referring clinicians must consult these systems prior to ordering advanced imaging exams. These evidence-based guidelines assist referring physicians and other providers in making the most appropriate imaging or treatment decision for a specific clinical condition. Employing these guidelines helps providers enhance quality of care and contribute to the most effective use of radiology. More recently, initiatives such as Imaging 3.0™ provide steps that allow all radiologists to take a leadership role in shaping the U.S. health care system. More than just a collection of resources aimed at educating radiologists about health care reform, Imaging 3.0 is a mindset: imaging specialists must demonstrate their value in delivering high-quality patient care, and Imaging 3.0 is the pathway to that goal.
The ACR also leads in defending and advancing the profession. It is the foremost organization advocating for the entire profession of radiology. Issues like physician self-referral, telemedicine licensure, and the radiology relative value scale would not have occurred without the steadfast efforts of the ACR to bring them to the attention of Congress, state legislatures, and the public.
Successes like these do not occur by happenstance but rather through strong leadership and foresight, backed by a dedicated volunteer base of over 2,000 individuals, a committed professional staff, and the direct support (including member dues) of the profession.
We live in challenging times. We face issues that include greater evidence-based justification for covered services, an aging population, computer-aided diagnosis, potential for commoditization through telemedicine, cost-cutting pressure from payers, greater consolidation with continued expansion into multi-disciplinary care, and shifting employment models. The ACR has and will continue to take on these challenges on behalf of the profession.
It is critical to understand that although the College provides benefits for the collective good of the profession, roughly 30–35 percent of eligible prospective members do not join. It is also critical to know that nearly all of our advocacy and economics support comes directly from member dues. Hence, our ability to best serve our members, the profession, and patients may be restricted by the lack of support from these eligible non-members. By receiving the ACR Bulletin, you are an ACR member and we thank you for your contribution. However, there are likely peers or members of your practice who have not joined the College. Please take the time to reach out to them and encourage them to join.
We recognize that all of you have invested much to reach your professional position. Through leadership and foresight, we hope to ensure that the investment in your career and commitment to patient care is protected, promoted, and advanced. And as valued members, you can also protect your investment by responding to this call to action and bringing your non-member colleagues into the fold. The ACR is 37,000 members strong, but it could be stronger by expanding its reach to the thousands of eligible non-members who benefit from our services yet are not part of the community. As valued members, we hope you will reach out to your colleagues. The profession’s ability to help shape its future is greatly enhanced when everyone belongs. We thank you for your membership and appreciate your ongoing support of the ACR and the profession.
By Brad Short, ACR senior director of governance and membership services