Radiologist assistants urgently need your help to get The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act of 2021 passed. You may have received this request because you have volunteered in other capacities with ASRT, but we are reaching out to you directly as a current or former ASRT Delegate. You are the decision makers and leaders in our profession, and we need your support and action to pass this important legislation.
Without complete Medicare reimbursement for RA services made to radiology practices employing RAs as members of a radiologist-led team, the profession is in peril. As a direct result of Medicare's current policy, RAs are losing their jobs and are unable to practice to the full extent of their capabilities. Medicare patients are not receiving the full benefit of care provided by qualified and experienced radiology professionals.
The adoption of MARCA would enable radiologists to devote more focused time to reviewing and interpreting complex medical images or urgent cases, thus increasing patient access to care. RAs will be able to work more efficiently and to the full extent of their education, and Medicare patients will receive care from qualified RAs regardless of the facility in which their procedure takes place.
Additionally, the survival of the RA role is not only critical to maintaining quality patient care but to protecting a career advancement pathway for all technologists. Currently, a number of educational programs have either closed or gone on hiatus significantly diminishing opportunities for future students.
Your advocacy assistance is critical. You can learn more by going to the MARCA Advocacy Action Center and send a message urging your congressional legislators to cosponsor House Resolution 3657 and Senate Bill 2641. Emails have been created to easily send to your federal representative and senators.
In addition, please urge your colleagues, family and friends to access the advocacy center and join our efforts in educating legislators about this important patient care and jobs bill.
Thank you for everything that you do and your support,
Mike Odgren, B.S., R.P.A., R.R.A., R.T.(R)(CT)
Chair of the Board, The American Society of Radiologic Technologists
(720) 693-3989 - cell
Dear ASRT Member:
ASRT reaches out to lawmakers when measures are introduced that may affect the economic success of radiologic technologists and radiation therapists. Now is one of those times.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is putting into effect new Medicare reimbursement rates in 2021 that carry significant cuts for radiology services and radiation therapy services. This change could result in an overall 11 percent decrease in payment levels for radiology, as well as decreases by specialty, including, a nine percent cut for interventional radiology; an eight percent cut for nuclear medicine; a six prevent cut for radiation oncology; and a six percent cut for radiation therapy. These reimbursement cuts are catastrophic figures for the medical imaging and radiation therapy professions.
These cuts, coupled with the fact that COVID-19 has had extremely adverse effects on the medical imaging and radiation therapy community, will wreak havoc. Reports state that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a 20 percent decline in the market for medical imaging equipment. Even worse news is on the horizon for the medical imaging and radiation therapy technical professional community if the final rule, with the aforementioned cuts included, takes effect in 2021. According to one study, more than 50 percent of radiology practices plan to terminate or furlough existing employees if the rule's cuts go into effect without any relief, while 82 percent said they expect the cuts will result in decreased imaging access for patients. And much like every other industry facing COVID-19, there is no telling if, or when, these jobs will come back. Patient access and care would further be hindered as medical imaging centers could close or reduce hours, while many would restrict services to Medicare beneficiaries treated in an outpatient setting.
While the Federal Government continues to search for a comprehensive response to COVID-19, Congress can immediately alleviate these Medicare reimbursement cuts by enacting H.R. 8702. If Congress fails to act, radiology, radiation therapy and medical imaging communities will be impacted in a severe and real way. That is why H.R. 8702 is so important to ASRT, and its members. By creating a two-year "hold harmless" payment that essentially would keep the reimbursement rates for Medicare services at the 2020 amount, H.R. 8702 allows the medical imaging and radiation therapy community to review the losses that COVID-19 has caused, and regroup after the full extent of the pandemic is analyzed.
ASRT asks that all radiologic technologists and radiation therapists contact your federal representatives using the ASRT Advocacy Action Center as soon as possible to voice support for this important legislation that will help radiologic technologists and radiation therapists continue to care for our country's most vulnerable patients.
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists
The purpose of the Indiana Society of Radiologic Technologists is to advance the profession of medical imaging and radiation therapy, to maintain high standards of education in order to enhance the quality of patient care, and to advocate for the medical imaging and radiation therapy professions.
The Indiana Society of Radiologic Technologists will be the state professional association to provide education and advocacy in order to improve the welfare and socioeconomics for medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals.
ASRT Affiliate Statement
As an affiliate of the ASRT, the ISRT fully supports all statements and positions of our parent organization. Please go to www.asrt.org to view.
The Indiana Society of Radiologic Technologists, Inc. was organized in 1939 as an affiliate of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. Today the ISRT recognizes medical imaging professionals, students, corporate representatives, certified and supporting individuals as members of the Society. The membership represents professionals in Radiography, Radiation Therapy, Nuclear Medicine, Sonography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Computerized Tomography, and all other imaging modalities.
The ISRT supports technologists through scholarships, continuing education, leadership development and networking opportunities. The ISRT helps technologists stay informed of and involved in state and federal legislative issues through the ISRT Legislative Liaison and collaboration with other professional organizations including The Indiana Radiological Society.