June 06, 2019

Capitol Hill Day Generates Support for ACR-Backed Legislation

As part of the American College of Radiology’s (ACR’s) annual Capitol Hill Day, over five hundred radiologists met with their members of Congress at their Capitol Hill offices in Washington, D.C., May 22 to discuss federal legislation considered crucial to medical imaging practices.

Their priorities, which reflect the ACR’s advocacy agenda, included surprise billing, access to screening mammography for women beginning at age 40, the rising cost of medical education and the use of radiology assistants (RAs) to perform diagnostic imaging services under direct supervision.

The meetings with lawmakers and their staff members generated almost immediate results, with additional commitments to co-sponsor three important pieces of legislation.

Introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) on May 15 — a week before Capitol Hill Day — the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings (PALS) Act (H.R. 2777) extends the moratorium on the flawed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) breast cancer screening recommendations from 2009 and 2016 until January 1, 2025. If the moratorium is not extended, women ages 40–49 will lose access to annual breast cancer screenings with no cost sharing. Women ages 50 and older will only have access to biennial screening mammography with no cost sharing.

Capitol Hill Day helped kickstart congressional support of the PALS Act, with eight of its 12 co-sponsors as of June 5 signing on since May 22.

The Resident Education Deferred Interest Act, introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, DDS (R-TX), halts the accrual of interest on graduate student loans during residency, providing medical and dental residents some relief during a time of increasing higher education.

The REDI Act (H.R. 1554) was introduced on March 6. As of June 5, it had 49 co-sponsors, with nine committing to support the bills since Capitol Hill Day.

The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA), allows RAs to take full advantage of their new recognition by Medicare to perform diagnostic imaging services under direct supervision by allowing radiology practices that employ RAs to submit claims for procedures or non-diagnostic services performed in practice settings other than a hospital.

Introduced in the House on March 28 by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), MARCA (H.R. 1970), had 17 co-sponsors as of June 5, with five announcing their commitment after May 22.

S. 1544, the Senate version of MARCA, was introduced by Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) on May 20. As of June 5, it had four co-sponsors, with one addition since Capitol Hill Day.

Such results demonstrate that direct political actions by ACR members on Capitol Hill Day make a big difference for the pursuit of the College’s legislative aims. We thank all the participants for their commitment to our common cause.