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ACR Calls for Mandatory Accreditation of All Advanced Imaging and Radiation Oncology Providers

Feb. 26, 2010 - At a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing titled Medica..., E. Stephen Amis, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Task Force on Radiation Dose in Medicine, urged Congress to require accreditation of all facilities which bill Medicare for advanced medical imaging and radiation oncology services, including those in hospitals, to reduce the likelihood of adverse patient events and help assure a baseline quality of care nationwide.

Accreditation requirements called for by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, effective Jan. 1, 2012, apply only to nonhospital providers of advanced medical imaging and do not include radiation oncology.

E. Stephen Amis, MD, chair of the ACR Task Force on Radiation Dose in Medicine, testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.

“The problems outlined in recent news reports demonstrate the need for mandatory accreditation in all clinical settings, for all advanced diagnostic imaging services and radiation therapy. Hospitals should be held to the same quality and safety standards as free-standing facilities. Patients have a right to expect the same quality of care regardless of the setting in which they receive it,” said Dr. Amis.

The former ACR Board Chair also cautioned Subcommittee members that any imaging or radiation oncology accrediting body recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should have a proven track record in the specific fields of radiology and radiation oncology.

“This accreditation must be robust and focus on considerations unique to imaging and radiation therapy, such as image quality, dose monitoring, phantom testing, equipment evaluation, calibration and maintenance, and the qualifications of all personnel involved in the delivery of care in order to be effective,” said Dr. Amis.

He also urged Congress to support a national CT dose registry, such as that being implemented by the ACR.

“A required dose index registry would be a critical new component that could measure ongoing performance of the accreditation baseline and may have helped identify many of the problems covered in media reports far sooner. The ACR has been working with industry to develop such a registry but a congressional mandate would aid this process,” said Dr. Amis.

He voiced ACR support for HR 3652, the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility .... The bill sets minimum federal standards for training and credentialing of radiation therapists, technicians, and other personnel who perform or plan the technical component of either medical imaging examinations or radiation therapy procedures.

While imaging growth is in line with, or below that of other physician services, appropriate use of imaging can be addressed by expanded use of ACR Appropriateness Criteria® which help physicians prescribe the most appropriate imaging exam for more than 200 clinical conditions (particularly when an imaging exam that does not use radiation may be more appropriate for a given condition), and point of entry physician ordering systems based on this tool, such as the 2010 Medicare pilot project mandated by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.

Click here
to view streaming video of the hearing and read the written testimony of hearing witnesses at the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee web site.

Click here to read the ACR written testimony.

Accreditation Resources:

Click here for more information regarding ACR diagnostic modality accreditation.

Click here to learn more regarding the joint ACR/ASTRO radiation oncology accreditation program.

Click here to learn more regarding ACR Appropriateness Criteria®

Radiation Resources:

Click here to visit the Radiology Safety Section of the ACR site.

Click here to visit the radiation safety section of www.radiologyinfo.org.

Click here
to visit Image Gently Web site.

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