SNMTS Advocacy Committee Chair Update: CARE Legislation in the 109th Congress

December 13, 2006

SNMTS Advocacy Committee Chair Update: CARE Legislation in the 109th Congress

Lyn Mehlberg, BS, CNMT, FSNMTS
Chair, SNMTS Advocacy Committee

CARE Bills Run out of Time As Congress Adjourns
While the U.S. House of Representatives adjourned around 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 9, without taking action on the Consumer Assurance of Radiologic Excellence Bill, the Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy is confident the legislation is well positioned for the 110th Congress. The momentum gained in the 109th Congress indicates this legislation has appreciable merit and this will definitely help fuel the bills in 2007. The RadCARE bill, S.2322 (Senate version), supported by 18 co-sponsors, passed the full Senate on December 6 as part of an unanimous consent calendar. The House bill, H.R.1426, may have missed making it out of committee, but ultimately netted 134 co-sponsors with 31% of the House endorsing the bill. This is the furthest the CARE/RadCARE legislation has come in the four previous sessions of Congress. The Alliance members plan to regroup, refresh, and hit the Hill hard in 2007.

Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy
The Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy—a coalition of 20 participating organizations focused on medical imaging and radiation therapy representing more than 350,000 members—was started in 1998 by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT ) and SNMTS. These two organizations brought together the stakeholders within the various medical imaging specialties to speak as one voice through the Alliance. Each organization in the Alliance has pledged to support the initiative to establish nationwide education and credentialing standards for medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals.

Marked Progress in 109th Congress
It is true this legislation will need to be reintroduced in the next session. Some may even be disappointed by the pace—thinking the legislative process is just taking too long. Keep in mind that that with each session the bills have made tangible and marked progress, giving plenty of opportunity to share our mission with others along and convince legislators the CARE/RadCARE initiative will help address many of the perceived issues in medical imaging.

The Alliance is excited about the progress made so far. Consider that millions of ideas float around Capitol Hill each year, and of these millions of ideas, around 10,000 are actually introduced as bills. When you consider that approximately 300 bills are passed each session and of those 300, many simply rename post offices, battleships, and airports, etc., only approximately 150 significant bills are passed and signed into law each year. Now, recall how far the CARE bills have come. In only its second Congressional session, the RadCARE bill passed the Senate unanimously.

Congratulations and Thank You
We should be proud of our collective efforts and of the milestones achieved by the CARE/RadCARE legislation in the 109th Congress. I would like to thank everyone who supported the CARE/RadCARE bills and personally worked towards this initiative. Thank you to those who have contacted your respective legislators, agreed to serve as State Health Policy Liaisons (SHPLs), supported advocacy, or kept the issues alive in your surroundings. We need everyone’s full support to make the CARE/RadCARE legislation a reality in 2007.

Alliance in 2007
The Alliance has already begun planning its first meeting in late winter 2007 in Washington DC, where the first task will be to support the reintroduction of the legislation and redevelop the list of cosponsors. As expected, the SHPL grassroots network and SNMTS membership will be called upon to educate their respective legislators about the legislation.

If you are interested in joining your colleagues as a member of the SHPL grassroots network, please contact ACNP-SNM HPRA staff at hpra@snm.org.