The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA)
The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act (MARCA) legislation was introduced in the 112th and 113th Congress and would have recognized radiologist assistants and radiology practitioner assistants as nonphysician providers of health care services authorizing physician reimbursement paid to the facility or supervising radiologist through the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for services performed by radiology physician extenders in the states that have laws establishing radiologist assistant guidelines.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), American College of Radiologists (ACR) and the Society for Radiology Physician Extenders (SRPE) are working together to obtain Medicare recognition of the radiologist assistant as a midlevel provider of health care services working under the supervision of a radiologist.
Currently, Medicare pays for services performed by a radiology physician extender who is working under the personal supervision of a radiologist. The ARRT, ASRT, ACR and SRPE are advocating for the adoption of legislative language that will set radiologist supervision levels for radiologist assistants at levels consistent with state licensure laws. By amending CMS reimbursement policy and supervision levels to match state licensure standards, radiologist assistants will be able to work more independently and be more efficient health care providers. The adoption of this language would enable radiologists to devote more focused time reviewing and interpreting complex medical images or urgent cases, thus increasing patients’ access to care.
The radiology physician extender has advanced education and training and can expertly and safely perform radiologic assessments and certain procedures that traditionally were performed only by radiologists.