WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Congressman Rick Lazio, R-N.Y., on
Sept. 25 introduced a legislative proposal in the U.S. House of
Representatives designed to ensure that the nation's medical imaging and
radiation therapy procedures are performed by qualified personnel.
"Millions of Americans undergo x-ray examinations, CT scans, MRI scans and
other diagnostic imaging tests every year," said Rep. Lazio. "This bill will
help ensure that these examinations meet a high standard of quality."
Rep. Lazio's bill, titled the Consumer Assurance of Radiologic Excellence
(CARE) Act, calls on the federal government to establish educational and
credentialing standards for personnel who plan and deliver radiation therapy
and perform all types of diagnostic imaging procedures except medical
ultrasound. States would be required to meet the federal minimum standards or
risk losing Medicaid reimbursement for radiologic procedures.
The CARE Act is designed to amend the Consumer-Patient Radiation Health
and Safety Act of 1981. The 1981 law established minimum standards for the
education and credentialing of radiologic technologists. Because compliance
with the 1981 Act is voluntary, only 35 states have enacted licensure laws for
radiographers, only 28 states license radiation therapists, and only 21 states
license nuclear medicine technologists. In states where no licensure exists,
individuals are permitted to perform radiologic procedures without any formal
education and sometimes after only a few weeks of on-the-job training.
"The lack of uniform standards nationwide for operators of medical imaging
and radiation therapy equipment poses a hazard to the patient and jeopardizes
quality health care," said Rep. Lazio. "Accurate diagnosis and effective
treatment can be provided only when personnel are properly educated in
anatomy, technique, equipment operation and radiation safety."
According to Rep. Lazio, passage of the CARE Act will improve the overall
quality of American health care. "It will help ensure that quality diagnostic
information is presented for interpretation and that accurate radiation
therapy treatments are delivered, leading to timely diagnosis, treatment and
cure," he said.
"Seven out of 10 Americans undergo some type of medical imaging exam or
radiation therapy treatment annually," added Rep. Lazio. "This legislation
will mean improved care for patients -- fewer retakes, higher quality images
and less exposure to radiation."
The CARE Act is backed by the Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and
Radiation Therapy, a coalition of 12 radiologic science organizations that
represents more than 200,000 health care professionals. It also has support
from a number of patient groups and health care organizations, including the
American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association's Council on
Cardiovascular Radiology, the Cancer Research Foundation of America and the
American College of Radiology.
"Most Americans assume that the person taking their x-ray, performing
their CT scan or delivering their radiation therapy is a qualified
professional," said Michael DelVecchio, president of the American Society of
Radiologic Technologists, a membership organization that represents more than
86,000 medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals nationwide. "The
fact is, poorly trained individuals examine and treat thousands of patients in
this country every day. The CARE Act will ensure that patients will no longer
have to wonder about the qualifications of people performing radiologic
DuVonne Campbell, ASRT Director of Government Relations, said the bill's
Sept. 25 introduction "represents thousands of hours of effort by people who
are concerned about improving the quality of patient care." However, she
noted that much work still lies ahead for supporters of the CARE Act.
"Because the bill was introduced so late in the Congressional session, we do
not expect substantive action to be taken on it this year," she explained.
"The bill will have to be reintroduced when Congress reconvenes in January.
In preparation for its reintroduction, we are working to gain support for a
companion bill in the Senate."
Rep. Lazio was joined in introducing the bill into the House of
Representatives by a bipartisan group of 17 House cosponsors: Rep. John J.
Duncan Jr., R-Tenn.; Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill.; Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich.;
Rep. John Larson, D-Conn.; Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa; Rep. William Lipinski,
D-Ill.; Rep. James Maloney, D-Conn.; Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y.; Rep. Howard
McKeon, R-Calif.; Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, D-W.V.; Rep. Connie Morella, R-Md.;
Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa.; Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn.; Rep. John Olver,
D-Mass.; Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.V.; Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill.; and Rep. Debbie
SOURCE American Society of Radiologic Technologists