May 27, 2016

Radiologist Take to Capitol Hill

In conjunction with ACR 2016, more than 500 radiologists traveled to Capitol Hill on May 18 to meet with their members of Congress. In addition to thanking those who voted in favor of reducing the professional component MPPR from 25 percent to 5 percent as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, radiology advocates also sought cosponsorship for H.R. 1151/S. 1151, legislation to reform the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and H.R. 4632/S. 2262, legislation to provide Medicare coverage for CT Colonography (CTC) screening.

The USPSTF is a quasi-governmental agency tasked with making recommendations on a myriad of screening tests for cancer and other preventive services. Its recommendations determine what screening tests private payers are required to cover without cost sharing. However, the USPSTF is not subject to the same transparency requirements and regulations as other federal agencies, even though its decisions carry a considerable amount of weight in determining coverage. H.R. 1151/S. 1151, the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015, attempts to remedy this situation by bringing the USPSTF more in line with the transparency requirements of federal agencies as well as providing physician specialists a larger role in the decision-making process.

If enacted, H.R. 4632/S. 2262, the CT Colonography Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act, requires Medicare coverage for CTC screening for colon cancer. Currently, Medicare only covers CTC in the case of an incomplete optical colonoscopy. The ACR has long supported Medicare coverage for screening CTC, and is committed to ensuring the Medicare population has access to this effective, non-invasive screening test.

Capitol Hill Day attendees reported that both ACR requests were well-received by lawmakers and staff. Although a few lawmakers agreed to cosponsor one or both bills on the spot, ACR Government Relations staff will review attendee response forms and follow-up with offices that indicated interest in cosponsorship, hopefully adding more cosponsors to these important bills.

ACR Government Relations staff extends its gratitude and appreciation to those who attended Capitol Hill Day.

For more information, see "Make Your Voice Heard on Capitol Hill" by Amy Patel, MD, on the Voice of Radiology blog.

If you helped bring the voice of radiology to Capitol Hill Day, Twitter photos are also available.