Radiology Advocacy in an Election Year

How do current politics impact radiology?


As you’ve surely noticed, the current election season is in turmoil. Next January we will have a new president and potentially a very different political climate to navigate.

Despite this uncertainty, the focus for the ACR remains clear.

Thankfully the ACR and RADPAC have put together a platform that is much easier for all of us to support. By advocating for the following initiatives, radiologists will continue to have success in the future and allow our specialty to provide the finest patient care.

1) Embrace Imaging 3.0: Make it a daily priority to add value by interacting with patients, avoiding unnecessary imaging exams, providing evidence-based recommendations, and understanding the costs of imaging.

2) Support H.R. 4632/S. 2262: This bill provides for CT colonography screening and gives the Medicare population a less invasive screening option that can lead to more cancers being detected earlier and saving more lives.

3) Support H.R. 1151/S. 1151: Research has shown that screening mammography for women starting at age 40 detects early cancers and saves more lives. A recent legislative patch gave us a two-year delay on the flawed USPSTF recommendation, so we must work fast to demand transparency from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that is in line with other government agencies.

4) Tweet out #NeverMPPR: Last year’s biggest legislative victory for radiology was a reduction in the multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) from 25 percent to 5 percent. This translates into a savings to radiologists of $352 million over the next 10 years. These funds can be reinvested into our practices in ways such as hiring more staff, acquiring better technology, or developing additional patient care initiatives.

5) Support RADPAC. As a resident or fellow, your $5 contribution to RADPAC is essential to keep this momentum alive and ensure additional victories in the future. RADPAC is our voice on Capitol Hill and we must support this advocacy. Only 15 percent of radiologists currently contribute to RADPAC. Increasing that number to 20 percent is a highly attainable goal and would be of significant consequence.

We got off to a great start this year with record attendance from residents and fellows at the ACR conference and Hill Day. Hopefully that attendance will translate into continued participation in advocacy throughout the year and we can report on more victories in 2017.

As for predicting the next president? My vote is for Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR.

By Robert A. Mackey, MD, MBA, resident at Medical College of Georgia, RADPAC Board Member, and Education Liaison for the ACR RFS Executive Committee

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