CARE Bill re-introduced to House

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The CARE bill (Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy) was re-introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives last week, after coming close to passage last year. This bill (H.R. 583), introduced by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), was previously known as the Consumer Assurance of Radiologic Excellence bill.

“We’re very pleased that the bill was introduced so early in the session,” said Christine Lung, ASRT’s director of government relations. “The CARE bill came very close to passing last year, and this is the earliest it has ever been introduced into a session. We want to keep the momentum going. This is the fifth time the bill has been introduced into Congress and each time, we get closer.”

In December the bill was unanimously passed by the Senate but despite last-minute efforts to get the bill through Congress no action was taken. Lung said that “with the passing of the bill by the Senate and a new Democratic leadership following the November 2006 elections, we feel we are in a very strong position to get the bill passed this year.”

The CARE bill would require people performing the technical components of medical imaging and radiation therapy to meet federal 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 need to be performed by personnel meeting the federal standards in order to be eligible for reimbursement, according to an ASRT summary of the bill.

The CARE bill is the short name for both the House and the Senate versions of the bill. The short title for the Senate version of the bill had previously been the RadCARE bill.