SICP LegislativeUpdate: CARE Bill

September 23, 2006 San Diego, California
September 23, 2006 San Diego, California
In June 1997, the ASRT (American Society of Radiologic Technologists) launched an aggressive campaign to protect patients undergoing radiologic procedures. The campaign sought to require minimum federal standards for the education and credentialing of radiologic personnel. In 1998, the Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy held its first meeting at RSNA (Radiologic Society of North America) in Chicago. At this time, the Alliance was comprised of 17 radiologic associations, which began drafting a bill to amend the 1981 Consumer-Patient Radiation Health and Safety Act. During the 1999“2000 Congressional session, the CARE Bill was introduced to both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. In early 2000, both cardiovascular technology and medical physicist organizations approached the ASRT about possible inclusion in the federal minimum standards and the Alliance. The SICP, JRC-CVT (Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology), and CCI (Cardiovascular Credentialing International) chose to join forces with the ASRT and the other Alliance members to support the CARE Bill. Our intent is to influence the implementation of rules and regulations in order to improve patient care to our patients in the invasive cardiovascular laboratory. Our contribution to this effort is based on the recognition, protection and advancement of the RCIS credential at the national level, which ensures the minimum educational requirements of the RCIS. The Alliance is a coalition of healthcare organizations dedicated to safe and high quality medical imaging, and believes that all personnel should be required to demonstrate competence in their area of practice. Charter members of the Alliance include the SICP, JRC-CVT, and CCI. Like the ASRT, the Alliance supports the pursuit of minimum federal standards to ensure patients are receiving the best quality medical imaging and radiation therapy. The Alliance also promotes the education of patients about imaging professionals, and is strongly encouraging lawmakers to recognize the importance of the CARE Bill. It has taken nearly ten years, and on September 20, 2006 the Senate version of the bill (RadCARE Bill “ S. 2322) went to mark-up. This is where the bill is reviewed, debated, amended and voted on by a Senate subcommittee. With very few minor amendments to the original version, the bill received a unanimous vote to move forward for a full Senate vote. Christine Lung, Director of Government Relations for the ASRT, is optimistic that the bill will pass in the full Senate. She has indicated that representatives from the ASRT and the Alliance will meet with Senate leaders to schedule a Senate floor vote for the RadCARE bill as soon as possible. It's also possible that the bill might be rolled into a larger piece of legislation, she said. Either way, it means significant progress for the bill. If passed, the CARE Bill would propose to amend The Public Health Service Act to make the provision of technical services for medical imaging examinations and radiation therapy treatments safer, more accurate, and less costly. As a member of the Alliance, the SICP strongly supports the intent of the bill and the proposed amendments to The Public Health Service Act. Several pieces of the proposed Act refer to the cardiovascular invasive specialist and the RCIS (Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist), which include the following: Section 75.2 defines the cardiovascular invasive specialist as an individual other than a licensed practitioner who performs a comprehensive scope of invasive cardiovascular and peripheral vascular diagnostic, therapeutic and interventional procedures under the supervision of a licensed practitioner through the use of fluoroscopy or utilizing equipment, which emits ionizing radiation, and who has met and continues to meet the standard in 75.5(E)(1). Section 75.5 recommends the standards for medical imaging and radiation therapy personnel. Subsection (E) outlines the standard for the cardiovascular invasive specialist as follows: 1 A cardiovascular invasive specialist is an individual who is a A graduate of a cardiovascular invasive specialist educational program accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology or Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs; or b Able to document suitable work/clinical experience in cardiovascular invasive specialist; and c Credentialed as a cardiovascular invasive specialist by Cardiovascular Credentialing International; or d Where applicable, licensed by the State in which the individual performing as a cardiovascular invasive specialist meets or exceeds (E)(1)(a) and (E)(1)(c) or (E)(1)(b) and (E)(1)(c) of this section. The collaboration between the SICP and ASRT for the CARE Bill efforts has been excellent. We stand united on the many issues surrounding the safe use of fluoroscopy and imaging in the invasive cardiovascular laboratory. It is clear that the RCIS credential is of paramount importance in determining that minimum educational standards have been met by the cardiovascular invasive specialist. The RCIS credential is available to all professionals who work in the invasive cardiovascular laboratory. The SICP strongly urges you to write to your Senator and/or Congressional Representative to show your support for the RadCARE Bill and how minimum educational and credentialing standards will ensure safer imaging for our patients. The SICP will keep continue to keep you updated as the RadCARE 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 tc (at) oregonsicp. com.