All Politics Is Local – Action Needed

The following post was contributed by Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR.

You should have received (or at least seen) a notice this week from the American College of Radiology (ACR) urging you to tell your senator to support legislation to repeal and replace Medicare’s flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the automated system ACR has put in place to help you do this.

I would remind all of us that, while ACR volunteers and staff do a fantastic job of representing us in Washington and at the state level, we need to work together to support these efforts to make medicine better. And the famous saying “all politics ‘is’ local” still very much applies.
Many are still uncomfortable with this sort of thing, but as the federal government and even some states consider emerging health care payment and delivery models, making our voices heard is only going to become more important.

This is why several sessions at ACR 2015™, the College’s all-new, all-radiology annual meeting will show us how to better advocate for our patients and practices in our communities and at the state and federal levels. As the meeting is in DC, we can also see our legislature at work and have the opportunity to help impact health care delivery and policy. On Wednesday at the meeting, radiologists head to Capitol en masse to meet with our elected representatives and tell them first-hand how we make high value health care better.

There is a clear link between these visits and initiatives that align incentives and improve care for our patients. In 2013 attendees used a beta version of ACR Select to show lawmakers the way that the ACR’s Appropriate Use Criteri® a can drive value in imaging. Less than a year later, the Protecting Access to Medicare legislation was passed requiring referring physicians to use appropriateness criteria based clinical decision support to prescribe advanced imaging scans for Medicare patients.

I know our Congress can seem dysfunctional at times but I get such a buzz from watching democracy at work and thinking about how we as physicians can leverage the political process to make sure that our patients get “all the imaging that is beneficial and necessary and none that is not” (Bibb Allen, Imaging 3.0™).

We can make such a difference and you can be a part of that change. I hope you will contact your  Congressman about the SGR bill and I hope to see you in DC!

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