The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) submitted feedback to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means in response to its request for information (RFI) on ways to improve access to healthcare in rural and underserved areas. The College’s feedback related to physician payment, the healthcare workforce, and innovative models and technology to improve patient care.
ACR focused on permanent Medicare payment reform, increasing graduate medical education residency slots for radiology and full implementation of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which established the consultation of appropriate use criteria (AUC) by providers.
To address physician payment, ACR advocates for passage of the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act (H.R. 2474), which would add a permanent Medicare Economic Index-based inflationary update to the annual Medicare Physician Fee Schedule — providing much-needed stability to the Medicare payment system. To resolve physician shortages in radiology, the College highlighted its support of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (H.R. 2389) that would expand the number of federally supported medical residency positions by 2,000 annually for seven years. Specifically aimed at addressing shortages of physician specialists in rural communities through the creation of a student loan repayment program, ACR also urged committee support for the Specialty Physicians Advancing Rural Care (SPARC) Act (H.R. 2761). ACR also requested to be involved in discussions about site-neutral policies that are developed.
The College looks forward to working with Congress on legislative solutions to increase patient access to healthcare. For additional information, contact Ashley Walton, ACR Director of Government Affairs.