In the spring of 2007 it became clear that the issue of licensure for Radiologist Assistants (RAs) was emerging as a national issue. In response, the Society invited the Massachusetts Radiologic Technologist Association (MRTA) to join with the MRS in forming a committee to explore the feasibility of developing a regulatory framework for the licensure of Radiologist Assistants in Massachusetts. Under the chairmanship of Phyllis Kornguth, MD, PhD, FACR, the group held several meetings and has developed a model licensure regulation for submission to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as a proposed regulation.
The proposal sets forth the qualifications and defines the scope of practice of an RA. The scope of practice would conform to any scope of practice document jointly approved by the ACR, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. The proposal also requires that RAs work under the supervision of a radiologist, but may not interpret images, make diagnoses or prescribe medications or therapies. Radiology Practitioner Assistants (RPA), certified as such prior to January 1, 2008, would be grandfathered and defined as RAs.
The MRS Executive Committee has endorsed the proposed regulations. At the time of writing, approval from the MRTA is pending. I would like to recognize the MRS members of the RA committee for their able work in representing our society. They are: Phyllis Kornguth, MD, PhD, FACR; Peter Gordon, MD, FACR; John Patti, MD, FACR; Joseph Ferrucci, III, MD; David Rosman, MD; and Edward Brennan, Esq., MRS Counsel.
The second key issue addressed by the Society this year involved the intention expressed by BC/BS of Massachusetts to discontinue coverage for CAD used with digital mammography as of January 2008 in accordance with their national policy. The managed care subcommittee under the chairmanship of Dr. Phillip Rogoff researched this issue extensively and then met with BC/BS in December. Based on their presentation, BC/BS notified us that the policy would be reversed and that CAD for digital mammography would remain a covered benefit in Massachusetts. This was a very significant achievement and the Society is indebted to, in addition to Dr. Rogoff, Phyllis Kornguth, MD, PhD, Alan Semine, MD, and Robyn Birdwell, MD, for their commendable work on this issue.
Finally, membership in the Society remains stable, its finances remain strong and the Resident and Fellows Section continues to do an outstanding job in bringing young physicians into the Society. This helps to insure that radiology and radiation oncology continue to maintain and support a strong Society to represent the interests of our members and our patients in the future.
Brian D. Acker, MD