This post was contributed by Stephen Ferrara, MD, a member of the ACR Commission on Government Relations.
Political spectators agree that the current election season is one for the record books.
An angry and polarized electorate is clamoring for bold changes on both the domestic and foreign policy fronts. So the question is, “Will this affect radiology, and if so, how?”
Both political parties have advanced platforms that embrace significant change in health care, with one side advocating further expansion of government-run health insurance and the other scrapping the current law in favor of market-based reform. The prospect of continued divided government and the general difficulty in achieving “big things” in Washington makes it unlikely that either side will realize the full extent of their campaign promises. However, regardless of who wins the White House or the Senate, it’s likely that health care will continue to be a political chess piece.
Being watchful and prepared for what policymakers consider “soft targets” or “easy wins” makes us better poised to weather the storm. Because of the superb vigilance and advocacy of the College, there have been several legislative wins in recent years—and although difficult to imagine—the job gets tougher all the time.
Radiologists will continue to be among the most impactful members of a patient’s health care team, but that’s not enough. In order to not become a soft target, it’s essential that patients, the public and policymakers understand the tremendous value we instill into the health care equation. We accomplish this by being ambassadors of our craft and positively engaging with patients, colleagues, administrators and public officials. It’s easier than it sounds. After all, quality is our image.
Need concrete steps to allow radiologists to take a leadership role in shaping America’s future health care system? ACR provides extensive free resources, including the Imaging 3.0™ initiative, the Radiology Support, Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCAN), the Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care, the National Radiology Data Registry (NRDR®), the Most Valuable Radiology Practice action plan and the JACR Imaging Value Chain Series. The Radiology Advocacy Network (RAN) is radiology’s voice on Capitol Hill.
Challenge: Can you name three ways that you demonstrate the value of your work outside of radiology?