The 2007 Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy bill (CARE bill), was last week introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).
In a March 29 letter, Sens. Enzi and Kennedy asked their colleagues in the Senate to join them in sponsoring the bill.
The bill is supported by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists ASRT), representing over 122,000 medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals. ASRT Director of Government Relations Christine Lung voiced encouragement by the introduction of the bill this early in the session. “We weren’t expecting the Senate to address the bill until after they returned from their Easter recess on April 16,” she said. “We were so close to the bill’s being passed during the last congressional session. I think this is our year.”
The CARE bill would require those who perform medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures to meet minimum federal education and credentialing standards in order to participate in federal health programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. These programs include Medicare and Medicaid. Under current law, basic training standards are voluntary in some states, allowing individuals to perform radiologic procedures without any formal education. Poor quality images can lead to misdiagnosis, additional testing, delays in treatment and anxiety in patients, costing the U.S. healthcare system millions of dollars each year.
The Senate passed a version of this bill, the RadCARE bill, in December 2006, but the congressional session ended before the House version of the bill could be brought up for a vote.
Recently a record number of radiologic technologists and students traveled to Washington, D.C., and visited with their congressional leaders for the ninth annual R.T. in D.C. grass-roots lobbying event, March 18-20. The event is sponsored by the ASRT.
This year, 150 members of ASRT and the Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologist Section visited the offices of approximately 375 representatives and senators to encourage support for the CARE bill. Looks like it paid off.