ARRT supports CARE legislation to mandate RT education
ARRT is among the alliance of organizations who are working to get the CARE bill through Congress. The bill would protect patients from overexposure to radiation during radiologic procedures and help reduce the cost of administering health care, according to the ASRT, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.
A previous version of the bill was unanimously passed by the Senate in December 2006, but time ran out for getting it through the House of Representatives before the session ended. In March 2007 the bill was re-introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) as S. 1042. There are currently twenty-two co-sponsors in the Senate.
The House version, H.R. 583, was revised to reflect the Senate version and introduced in January 2007 by Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., along with lead Republican co-sponsor Chip Pickering from Mississippi. Other co-sponsors include Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Lois Capps, D-Calif.; John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., Mike Rogers, R-Mich.; and Heather Wilson, R-N.M. House of Representatives co-sponsors currently number 115.
“CARE bill,” formerly the abbreviation for “Consumer Assurance for Radiologic Excellence,” has been re-named to stand for “Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility, and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy.”
“When the U.S. federal government is willing to put its significant resources behind regulations that so closely parallel ARRT’s mission of promoting high standards of patient care,” says ARRT President Anne Chapman, R.T.(R)(N)(ARRT), CNMT, “we are right on the front lines supporting those efforts.”
ARRT Assistant Executive Director Ginny Haselhuhn, B.S., R.T.(R) cites four specific reasons for ARRT’s support. “The CARE bill will establish minimum educational and credentialing standards for personnel who perform all types of medical imaging procedures and deliver radiation therapy. It will help to ensure that quality images are presented for diagnosis and that radiation therapy procedures are accurately administered. This leads to early detection, treatment, and cure — a large part of what we think of as high standards of patient care. Lower healthcare costs are likely to result when fewer medical imaging examinations must be repeated due to improper positioning or poor technique — again promoting a high standard of patient care. Radiation, when properly administered, is a valuable tool in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Improperly administered, radiation can be harmful and may carry an increased potential health risk. The CARE bill promotes high standards of patient care by improving the overall safety of medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures.”
Essentially, the bill would require people performing the technical components of medical imaging and radiation therapy to meet education and credentialing standards in order to participate in federal health programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. Medical imaging examinations and procedures, as well as radiation therapy treatments for patients covered under these programs, would have to be performed by personnel meeting the federal standards in order to be eligible for reimbursement.