Make Your Voice Heard on Capitol Hill

Dr Patel RFS

Amy Patel, MD

This post is contributed by Amy Patel, MD, chief resident at the University of Kansas-Wichita and Resident RADPAC Board Member.

I always look forward to the annual Capitol Hill Day. What makes the day particularly special for me is the stalwart relationships we have built with our own Kansas senators and representatives. It is a gratifying feeling when you know each other on a first name basis and know that the support is mutual in achieving radiology’s advocacy goals.

Fostering these types of relationships can go incredibly far in passing legislation favorable to the specialty.

KRSRepLynnJenkins

ACR Kansas delegation with Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)

Another incredible milestone during this year’s Capitol Hill Day was the exemplary attendance by the Resident and Fellow Section. Of the over 500 attendees, nearly 40 percent were members-in-training. To me, this proves that the leaders of tomorrow understand the importance of radiology advocacy, they truly care about the future of our profession, and they want to play an active role in its continued success.

Although the American College of Radiology has arguably one of the strongest governmental relations teams advocating for us on the Hill, it is imperative that we as radiologists also make ourselves visible in Washington to provide compelling facts and data. Moreover, a story which hits close to the home of a federal elected officer and how it’s affecting his/her constituents can be all it takes for one of them to show support.

MaineRadSociety

ACR Maine Chapter on Capitol Hill

Our efforts in Washington really do translate to results. To put it in perspective, 8,000 bills were introduced in Congress in 2015 and 90 percent did not get a vote. However, we were able to enact legislation that lowered the Professional Component Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR), placed a two-year moratorium on the flawed United States Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) mammography screening recommendations, and repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), three crucial victories in our field.

We most definitely need radiologists tirelessly reading at the workstation; they are invaluable assets to our profession. However, it is equally paramount for radiologists to solidify their stance in Washington, advocating on the front lines as we move forward in our battle for fair reimbursement and affordable/accessible care for our patients. This will collectively ensure our specialty will survive and thrive in the years to come.

I invite you to use the comments section below to share your favorite things about Capitol Hill Day and why you think participation in the advocacy process is important.

More photos from Capitol Hill Day—taken from the #ACR2016 Twitter feed—are available.

Use Every Opportunity to Do the Right Thing for Patients

Dmont CH Event 5-17-16 Podium

May 17 Capitol Hill Briefing

This post is contributed by Debra Monticciolo, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission.

As you may have seen in ACR Advocacy in Action, I stepped away from the recent ACR 2016 — The Crossroads of Radiology® to testify on behalf of the College at a Society for Women’s Health Research Capitol Hill event regarding the need to inform women of reconstructive breast surgery options following mastectomy.

I explained that early breast cancer detection via regular mammography starting at age 40 can provide women with greater treatment options and an improved chance for a full recovery. I noted that the American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) continue to recommend that women begin annual screening at age 40. I also stressed that women need access to this information to make informed decisions on their breast (and overall) health.Dmont CH Event Wide

While our schedules are only getting busier, I strongly urge you to take advantage of opportunities in your area to explain why annual breast cancer screening is so important, why breast cancer experts – including ACR, SBI and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) – continue to recommend annual mammograms starting at age 40 and why women who want an annual mammogram should continue to have insurance-covered access to these life-saving exams.

DMont Cap Hill Event 5-17-16The ACR and SBI have resources to help prepare you for these opportunities – including the Mammography Saves Lives campaign. I invite you to take advantage of these resources. You may be surprised how many speaking opportunities are available in your area.

I also invite you to share your experiences and what you have been doing in your local community in the comments section below. Keep fighting the good fight. Lives depend on it.

How to Pass “MACRA” Economics

The following post was contributed by Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, chair of the ACR Commission on Economics.

Dr.McGinty(updated)Sweeping changes in physician payment policy are now in play. Things, as ACR Chief Executive Officer William T. Thorwarth, MD, FACR, said last week, are getting “real.” 

Pass or Fail?

It’s been two weeks since the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models (APMs) proposed rule.

Right Now

  • Would you pass the MACRA test?
  • Are you prepared for MACRA?
  • Do you know what you need to about value-based payment programs for imaging?
  • Do you have strategies in place to succeed in future payment models?

 If you’re not confident about your responses to these questions, the ACR offers practical resources to help us succeed now under the new Medicare system.

 Tips to Success

 Strength in Sharing

Do you have suggested strategies for other radiologists to pass the MACRA test? We can learn more together.