Society of Invasive Cardiovascular Professionals

CARE Bill Sets Standards for Personnel Who Perform Medical Imaging Exams

The 2007 Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy bill, or CARE bill, was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., on March 30. The bill is supported by the Society of Invasive Cardiovascular Professionals, a member of the Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (CARE Bill Alliance) representing more than 122,000 medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals. CARE Alliance founding member, the ASRT (American Society of Radiologic Technologists) Director of Government Relations Christine Lung said she's very encouraged by the introduction of the bill this early in the session. We weren't expecting the Senate to address the bill until after they returned from their Easter recess on April 16. She added, We were so close to the bill being passed during the last congressional session. I think this is our year. The CARE bill would require those who perform medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures to meet minimum federal education and credentialing standards in order to participate in federal health programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. These programs include Medicare and Medicaid. Under current law, basic training standards are voluntary in some states, allowing individuals to perform radiologic procedures without any formal education. 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. The Senate passed a version of this bill, the RadCARE bill, in December 2006, but the congressional session ended before the House version of the bill could be brought up for a vote. In a March 29th letter, Sens. Enzi and Kennedy asked their colleagues in the Senate to join them in sponsoring the bill. Once the bill has enough cosponsors, it will go before the Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for approval, then to the Senate floor for a vote. Sen. Kennedy is chairman of the HELP Committee, and Sen. Enzi is its ranking Republican. The committee will have jurisdiction over the CARE bill during hearings and mark-up. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., is sponsoring CARE Bill in the House of Representatives. Currently, 49 representatives are cosponsoring the bill in the House and 20 more are expected to sign on soon. Once the bill has 75 cosponsors, Rep. Doyle will ask the chairman of the House's Subcommittee on Health, Frank Pallone Jr., D-NJ, to move the bill to the full Committee on Energy and Commerce. CARE Bill Alliance members have worked diligently to educate their senators and congressmen on the need for education and credentialing standards in medical imaging and radiation therapy, Ms. Lung said. It will be exciting to see the long-term efforts of so many dedicated imaging technologists come to realization when the CARE legislation is enacted. The SICP will keep continue to keep you updated as the CARE Bill moves forward through the legislative process. For comment, please contact Todd Chitwood, President-Elect, SICP and SICP Representative to the Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy at PresidentElect@SICP.com.
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