I am a third year radiology resident at Cleveland Clinic participating in the J.T. Rutherford Fellowship. The Rutherford Fellowship is named in honor of the ACR’s first lobbyist. This fellowship provides radiology residents with direct personal exposure to ACR government relations activities to facilitate an in depth knowledge of state and federal legislative and regulatory processes.
In Washington D.C., I experienced the positive effects of becoming and staying politically active. At Capitol Hill visits, our primary focus was urging members of Congress and their staff to enact H.R. 4015/S. 2000, the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act. This important bill seeks to repeal the antiquated SGR formula, which subjects all physicians to severe annual cuts in reimbursement. Absent Congressional action before March 31, my colleagues and I will face a 24 percent reduction in Medicare payment!
H.R. 4015/S. 2000 also includes important provisions mandating ordering physicians consult appropriateness criteria developed by national medical specialty societies prior to referring Medicare patients for advanced diagnostic imaging services. I believe that enactment of this policy will lead to better patient care and lower health care costs.
The Rutherford Fellowship has significantly enhanced my understanding of the governmental factors that impact the future of radiology. I have already taken a few minutes out of my busy schedule to contact Congress about the importance of passing H.R. 4015/S. 2000. I urge all ACR members to follow my lead and TAKE ACTION TODAY!
Author – 2014 J.T. Rutherford Fellow, Esther Udoji, M.D.
Dr. Udoji with Rep. David Joyce (R-OH)