Tilden Childs, III, MD, FACR, and Raj Suri, MD, MBA, FACR, FSIR, members of the Texas Radiological Society (TRS) contributed this piece.
The American College of Radiology Association® (ACRA®) expects that Scope of Practice (SOP) expansion will continue to be one of the top healthcare-related issues discussed in state legislative sessions as non-physician specialty groups are devoting a lot of time and resources to introducing legislation in the states that would greatly expand their scope of practice, beyond their teaching and training. Fortunately in 2021, the ACRA established the SOP Fund to safeguard patients and patient access to radiologist expertise by fighting state and federal non-physician SOP expansion legislation.
Recently, the TRS was one of four state radiological societies to be awarded an SOP Fund to engage with a digital media advertising firm and conduct a targeted digital media campaign focused solely on legislative efforts to expand the scope of practice of non-physician providers.
This Texas campaign proved to be extremely successful in educating policymakers about the dangers associated with allowing the practice of medicine by those mid-level providers who are inadequately prepared for taking responsibility for patient safety. In fact, this comprehensive digital media messaging campaign was so effective, the primary “independent practice” legislation was defeated without even receiving a hearing in the committee chaired by the bill author!
This digital media campaign focused on reaching our target audiences in the policymaking arena utilizing several components of messaging and a variety of platforms to deliver those messages. These key audiences included the legislative staff working in the capitol, the legislators in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the conventional press outlets and other influential observers.
The initial phase of the campaign focused on raising the awareness of radiology and the importance of being properly trained and equipped to care for our patients, with the follow up components focusing on specific legislative initiatives to defeat any efforts at scope expansion. TRS coordinated with other specialty societies and the Texas Medical Association (TMA) to maximize the collective effectiveness of our efforts.
The outcomes of the TRS efforts speaks volumes, with none of the dozens of scope expansion bills passing successfully through the legislature in 2023. And the SOP fund grant from the ACR was a critical component of those efforts. Using this grant to create a targeted approach to educating policymakers was a valuable tool that deserves to become a regular part of TRS advocacy efforts.
Our campaign successfully fought back against the numerous SOP expansion bills that were introduced during the 2023 Texas state legislative session. From a federal level, the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) recently cosigned a June 1 letter from the American Medical Association to the leadership of the U.S. House Committees on Ways and Means, Energy, and Commerce expressing strong opposition to H.R. 2713 , the “Improving Care and Access to Nurses Act,” also referred to as the “I CAN Act.”
In addition, the ACR has a scope of practice micro-website, which features a wide variety of resources for state chapters, including:
• State scope of practice legislation tracked by the ACR.
• Educational requirements of a radiologist and the value of physician-led care.
• ACR communications and sign-on letters.
Together, our efforts will increase the awareness and appreciation of the extensive training radiologists receive, the skills we bring to the diagnosis and treatment of disease, and the safety and high-quality care we afford our patients. Join us as we put radiology advocacy into action and fight for clear, sensible definition of scope for allied health professionals.
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