ACR to become Medicare diagnostic imaging accreditation body

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The American College of Radiology (ACR) reported that it will complete the process required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to become a diagnostic imaging accreditation body for Medicare providers.

The new law, Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, H.R. 6331, which averted a massive cut in Medicare physician payments and contains no imaging cuts, requires that medical imaging providers be accredited by Jan. 1, 2012, in order to receive reimbursement from Medicare for MRI, CT, PET and nuclear medicine procedures.

ACR accreditation requires that the physicians supervising and interpreting medical imaging meet stringent education and training standards. ACR accreditation also requires that the imaging equipment is surveyed regularly by qualified medical physicists to ensure that it is functioning properly, and that the technologists administering the tests are appropriately certified.

The college said its accreditation is a process of both self-assessment and independent external audit, based on the ACR guidelines and technical standards, which assesses the qualifications of personnel, policies and procedures, equipment specifications, QA activities, patient safety and ultimately the quality of patient care.

The purpose of the programs is to set quality standards for practices and help them improve the quality of care they provide to their patients, according to the college. The ACR said its staff meets regularly with members of Congress, congressional staff and CMS officials.

The college also said it will continue to keep members and other stakeholders informed of any developments as the Medicare accreditation process moves forward.