This post was contributed by Georgia G. Spear, MD, Chief of Breast Imaging, NorthShore University HealthSystem and Clinical Assistant Professor of Radiology, The University of Chicago
Early detection saves the most lives. As a breast imaging radiologist, I believe the onus is on us to take action and provide the best care for our patients. Advocacy allows us, as physicians, to educate the public and legislators in our area of expertise – a critical role that positively impacts the care of our patients in a complex health care environment.
It was my privilege and honor to provide medical expert testimony in the State of Illinois at both the Senate and House committees in 2018, resulting in unanimous passage of breast density notification legislation, effective January 1, 2019.
As a member of the Breast Imaging Committee of the Illinois Radiological Society, I was also active in the creation of this legislation, HB 4392, which serves to notify women of their breast density, educate women on the implications of having dense breast tissue and guide women to their breast imaging provider to address whether supplemental screening may be right for them. This legislation, coupled with an Illinois State mandate passed in 2009 requiring coverage for supplemental screening with ultrasound or MRI for women with dense breast tissue, will allow women to benefit from testing that may be necessary to maximize our ability to detect breast cancer early when it is manageable and treatable.
Recently, I traveled once again to my State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, to provide medical expert testimony to the Senate committee on a piece of legislation, SB 162, that will expand coverage to diagnostic mammograms when deemed medically necessary and would cover breast ultrasounds for evaluating dense breast tissue. This legislation, which can influence compliance with the life-saving benefits of annual screening mammography, passed the Senate and I will be returning to support this bill at the House committee.
I view my role as a physician as a privilege, and I am grateful to extend the best care possible to my patients daily in my clinical practice. Leveraging my medical expertise to influence changes that will affect all women is priceless.
- Are you taking part in any advocacy efforts in your state?
- Become a #RADvocate yourself – get involved with the Radiology Advocacy Network or RADPAC
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