The Michigan Radiological Society (MRS) was awarded an American College of Radiology Association® (ACRA®) Scope of Practice (SOP) Grant in 2021. ACR Senior State Government Relations Specialist Dillon Harp sat down with Leah Davis, DO, and Ralph Lieto MS, FACR, of the state society to discuss how the grant has helped.
1. Why did MRS decide to apply for an SOP grant?
The Michigan legislature has historically upheld physicians as the head of the healthcare team, but in recent years we have encountered repeated legislative attempts to increase the scope of practice for nonphysician practitioners (NPPs). Our state has many strong training programs for NPPs. When legislators introduced bills to allow NPPs and chiropractors to perform “image interpretation,” we knew we had to increase our advocacy efforts. We have a strong state chapter and state lobbyist, but we needed to invest more time and provide more education to our legislators. We decided to seek additional funding from ACRA to augment our efforts. This grant allows us to have a focused strategy, develop strong relationships between physicians and legislators, and form stronger affiliations with other state medical organizations. All of these will be essential to address further scope expansion through legislation.
2. How has the grant helped your chapter and members advocate against non-physician scope of practice activity?
MRS was honored to receive an ACRA grant. We used it to augment our existing legislative efforts by increasing face-to-face time with legislators, including personal meetings with the speakers of the House and Senate.
We believed that it was important to coordinate with other state medical specialty societies sharing our concerns (e.g., anesthesiology, surgery) and the grant supports participation in a multimember coalition — Michigan for Advancing Collaborative Care Teams (MiACCT) — to preserve physician-led healthcare teams in Michigan. MRS sent delegates to the annual meeting of the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) and officially sponsored a resolution titled “Radiology Interpretation by Physicians” which passed with full support.
Finally, we developed and are finalizing graphics comparing the formal training of radiologists with that of NPPs and chiropractors, which we hope to use as an educational tool and to share with other ACR chapters.
3. Why would you encourage other state radiological chapters to apply for this grant?
The grant has allowed us to amplify our voice in the state legislature in new and innovative ways that we were not using before. The application process is not overly exhaustive, and the ACR state government affairs team is responsive and extremely helpful. The criteria for utilization of funds are general enough that most states could use the funds to support state radiological society education or outreach projects or to develop new advocacy efforts. We also found that the application process helped us develop a detailed and focused plan for advocacy in a way we hadn’t been doing before and to network with other state societies.
4. Why do you believe radiology advocacy is important?
Radiology advocacy is more important than ever if we want to preserve the quality and integrity of our profession. The physician-led care team is a time-proven practice in the best interests of quality patient care. Most legislators do not have a good understanding of the training or contributions of radiologists to quality patient care and, as legislators change through the electoral process, our work in educating legislators is never-ending. In this changing political landscape, it is critical that radiologists become more active in supporting our profession and the practice of medicine in general.
5. If a chapter is hesitant about applying for this grant, what advice would you give them?
Just do it! Starting the application process is beneficial, as it allows the state society to evaluate its current advocacy status, may help define legislative goals and outlines needs for current and future advocacy.
ACR extended the deadline for state societies to apply for scope of practice grants to Feb. 28. More information about applying for an ACRA grant can be found online. ACR has also updated its scope of practice microsite. For questions, please contact Eugenia Brandt, ACR Senior Government Affairs Director, or Dillon Harp, ACR Senior State Government Relations Specialist.