August 20, 2010
SNM and SNMTS are asking members to contact their Senators to urge them to cosponsor the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence (CARE) in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Act of 2009 (S.3737), recently introduced by Senators Enzi (R-WY) and Harkin (D-IA).
The quality and safety of medical imaging and therapeutic procedures is dependent upon the personnel performing them. Most Americans assume that the person performing their x-ray, nuclear medicine scan, or radiation therapy treatment has undergone formal training in the modality in which they are working. However, this is not always the case. Only 26 states have established standards for nuclear medicine technologists, only 32 states for radiation therapists, and only 38 states license or partially regulate radiologic technologists.
The lack of minimum standards allows inadequately trained personnel to perform medical imaging and therapeutic procedures in the United States every day. Poor quality images can lead to misdiagnosis, additional testing, delays in treatment, and anxiety in patients, costing the U.S. health care system millions of dollars each year.
If enacted, the CARE Act would require those who perform medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures to meet minimum federal education and credentialing standards in order to participate in the Medicare program. Thus, medical imaging procedures, as well as radiation therapy treatments for patients covered under these programs, would need to be performed by personnel meeting these federal standards in order to be eligible for reimbursement.
Please click here to urge your Senator to cosponsor this important legislation. It is essential that he/she hears from their constituents that this issue is extremely important to the future of medical imaging and patient care.