WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced legislation to ensure patients have timely and quality access to health care providers by enhancing the role of radiology assistants (RAs) and recognizing qualified RAs as non-physician providers.
The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act of 2016 authorizes Medicare coverage of procedures performed by RAs in states that have laws licensing and establishing their expanded role.
“Utilizing the expertise of radiology assistants is critical to healthcare delivery. These healthcare professionals are well qualified to address the increased demand in medical imaging services and fill the gap in the shortage of radiologists, particularly in rural areas. Ensuring the procedures performed by RAs are covered by Medicare is commonsense to providing seniors with the specialized services they deserve,” Boozman said.
“This legislation will allow radiology assistants to utilize their expertise and training to help care for our seniors and people with disabilities. This is a commonsense change that will require Medicare to reimburse radiology assistants for their expertise and contributions, something which is already happening in many states around the country," Casey said. “Over 925,000 Pennsylvania seniors and people with disabilities rely on Medicare, and this bill will help ensure they have access to radiology services in a timely manner.”
Arkansas is one of 31 states with laws regulating the practice of RAs. This profession is critical to Arkansas health providers.
“The presence of the RAs in Arkansas hospitals provides timely, efficient care to the people of this state. The lack of legislation allowing coverage for services provided by RAs threatens the efficient care provided by them. Radiology services need these individuals to help our state deliver modern healthcare that is efficient, timely and of excellent quality,” Dr. Bruce Greenberg, UAMS Professor of Pediatrics and Radiology, said.
This legislation has the support of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas, Associated Radiologists, Ltd., American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, the American College of Radiology, the Society of Radiology Physician Extenders and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.
The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act of 2016 was introduced in the House of Representatives in February (H.R. 4614).