On May 17, Sens. John Boozman (R-AR) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced S. 2940, the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act of 2016, to ensure patients have access to timely and quality imaging services by enhancing the role of radiology assistants (RAs) and recognizing qualified RAs as non-physician providers.
If enacted, the bill would authorize Medicare coverage for procedures performed by RAs in states with laws that license and recognize their expanded role. Currently, 31 states have laws regulating RA practices.
An RA is an advanced-level registered radiologic technologist who enhances patient care by extending the capacity of the radiologist in the diagnostic imaging environment. RAs have completed an advanced medical imaging academic program encompassing a nationally recognized curriculum and a radiologist-directed clinical preceptorship.
The American College of Radiology has supported the recognition of RAs for many years and supports the enactment of S. 2940 and its House companion legislation, H.R.4614. Recognition of the RA designation by Medicare will allow radiologists to be available for more complex procedures, consultations with referring physicians and imaging study interpretation.