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Why Join the ACR (page 3)

Past Triumphs:

Probably the three greatest socio-economic triumphs of the ACR are:

1.  The establishment and maintenance of radiologists as physicians under Medicare Part B

2.  The development of radiology's own RBRVS (resource based relative value system) - the only medical society which has done so.

3.  The defeat of self-referral through numerous state legislations as well as Stark II at the federal level.

Major Recent Accomplishments and Current Issues:

I. Government Relations Campaign:

The ACR has worked aggressively over the past 2 years to defeat efforts to weaken existing self-referral laws. Hundreds of letters, phone calls, and/or e-mails have been sent to Congress to further this effort. On October 3, 2000 Representative Thomas withdrew his amendment (HR 2651-Physician Self Referral Amendments of 1999), which would have weakened the Stark II ban against self-referral. This is a very significant victory for radiology.

The ACR supported the initial proposal of managed care reform initiatives that ultimately passed the US House of Representatives.

Reauthorization for MSQA (Mammography Quality Standards Act) included two provisions supported by the ACR. The College is currently working actively with Congress to increase reimbursement for mammography screening under Medicare.

The ACR continues to work with its state chapters to pass telemedicine licensure legislation. To date, 23 states have passed laws requiring some type of licensure. Other state issues that the College has promoted include radio logic technologist licensure, medical physicist licensure, and managed care reforms. The College has also provided assistance with alternative approaches to Certificate of Need Laws.

As part of the ACR's annual State Chapter Leaders' Meeting, over 140 radiologists, radiation oncologists, and medical physicists came to Washington this spring to meet with members of Congress and advocate for radiology.

The College continues to work with HCFA, Congress and the states to educate them on the proper training necessary for non-physicians performing diagnostic x-ray services.
The Radiology Advocacy Alliance (RAA) formed a non-partisan federal political action committee (RADPAC) in 1999 to support "radiology friendly", federal candidates. To date, RADPAC has raised in excess of $240,000.

II. Public Relations Campaigns

The ACR launched a PR initiative in 1999 to further enhance the public image of the radiologist and to highlight the cost-effective use of quality radiology for patients and managed care organizations alike. Ads have run in newspapers (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.) and magazines (e.g. Ladies Home Journal) while staff exhibited at national health insurance meetings to promote radiology and ACR programs.

On October 15, 1999 over 2,200 ACR-accredited facilities participated in National Mammography Day, which provides discounted or free mammograms to women throughout the United States. The ACR serves as the facilitator for National Mammography Day.

The ACR reorganized and relocated its extensive archives this past year. The archives are now housed at the History Factory in Virginia. The reorganization of the materials will provide greater access and convenience to those seeking to learn more about the history of radiology.

III. Accreditation Standards, and Appropriateness Criteria

The JCAHO recognized ACR's Radiation Oncology Program as meeting its own standards. Currently, ACR programs in mammography, MRI, ultrasound, breast biopsy, and nuclear medicine are under similar review. Six state governments, Medicare carriers for 9 states and D.C., and at least six private third party payers have now recognized ACR accreditation as a requirement for qualitative or reimbursement purposes.

The ACR continued its focus on quality imaging with the development of five new standards, including a collaborative effort with the American Society of Neuroradiology, the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology, and the American Society of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology to produce a comprehensive standard on Cervicocerebral Neuroangiography in Adults. In addition, twenty-two existing standards were reviewed and updated. During the 2000 ACR Council Meeting, the ACR Council considered 13 new standards and revised 18 existing standards.

The ACR continues to revise and expand Appropriateness Criteria and a total update will be completed by the end of this year. Portions of the work of the Expert Panel on Radiation Oncology have been published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology-Biology-Physics. Supplements to Radiology have been published both as an overview article on topics developed by the Task Force as well as a printing of a completely updated version of the criteria.

There has been an increasing recognition of BI-RADSTM and the National Mammography Database for reporting in the national and international imaging community by requests to use the trademark and to include BI-RADSTM in various products. Efforts are continuing to create a complete atlas for breast imaging reporting by expanding the lexicon to include ultrasound and MRI. The National Mammography Database anticipates a major launching effort by the end of the year.

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