ACR Statement on Imaging Accreditation in the Medicare System
Due to intense advocacy and education efforts by ACR members and staff, as well as those of other organizations, Congress recently overrode a presidential veto and passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (H.R. 6331) which averted a massive cut in Medicare physician payments. This new law, which due to ACR efforts and others, contains no imaging cuts, requires that medical imaging providers be accredited by Jan. 1, 2012, in order to receive reimbursement from Medicare for MRI, CT, PET and Nuclear Medicine procedures.
As the nation’s oldest and most experienced medical imaging and radiation oncology accrediting organization, the ACR will complete the process to become a deemed accrediting body for the Medicare program and work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide the accreditation services that the new law requires.
The ACR has a long history of providing accreditation for diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology services dating back to 1963. The federal government has previously recognized ACR accreditation as meeting the highest standards. In 1994, the ACR became the only national accrediting body for mammography accreditation approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Mammography Quality Standards Act. Those standards have dramatically improved the quality of mammography services and saved lives. More recently, the ACR was named the accrediting organization for all U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs radiation oncology facilities. In addition to mammography and radiation oncology, the ACR currently has programs to accredit MRI, CT, nuclear medicine, PET, ultrasound, stereotactic breast biopsy and breast ultrasound.
ACR accreditation requires that the physicians supervising and interpreting medical imaging meet stringent education and training standards. ACR accreditation also requires that the imaging equipment is surveyed regularly by qualified medical physicists to ensure that it is functioning properly, and that the technologists administering the tests are appropriately certified.
ACR accreditation is an efficient process of both self-assessment and independent external audit, based on the ACR guidelines and technical standards, which assesses the qualifications of personnel, policies and procedures, equipment specifications, QA activities, patient safety, and ultimately the quality of patient care.
The purpose of these programs is to set quality standards for practices and help them continuously improve the quality of care they provide to their patients. ACR staff meets regularly with members of Congress, congressional staff, and CMS officials. The College will continue to keep members and other stakeholders informed of any developments as the Medicare accreditation process moves forward.
For more information\ please contact ACR Public Relations Manager Shawn Farley at 703.648.8936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.