Regular Session Summary
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Thanks to the efforts of many of our TRS members, we were successful in passing HB 170, a bill calling for certain insurance plans to provide coverage for diagnostic mammograms at a rate “no less favorable than the coverage for screening mammograms.” Passage of this legislation is a big win for the TRS and most importantly for the patients under our care!

 

HB 1504, the sunset bill providing for re-authorization of the Texas Medical Board, includes language to authorize the licensure of Radiologist Assistants (RAs) in Texas under the supervision of radiologists. The TRS has been working with the RA community for many years on this important legislation. Your TRS leadership recognizes the hard work that has gone into making this legislation a reality.

 

Passing legislation in Texas is not an easy task, and most bills hit the chopping block or are dead on arrival. No significant legislation was passed this session related to increased funding for Medicaid. Although legislation did pass to slightly expand medical marijuana access through HB 3703 by adding epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and spasticity to the list of eligible conditions, our state continues to have no significant appetite for efforts to legalize marijuana. 

 

Councilors attending the American College of Radiology meeting this year in Washington, DC were requested by ACR leadership to discuss four key issues with their elected officials. Your 31-member TRS delegation was well-represented at the ACR-sponsored Capitol Hill Day on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.  Councilors were specifically asked to discuss with their representatives and senators the following issues: 1) surprise billing; 2) PALS (Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings); 3) MARCA (Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act); and 4) the REDI Act (Resident Education Deferred Interest).

 

Federal legislation is currently being considered regarding the surprise billing/balance billing issue. We specifically requested that our elected officials endorse a multiconsensus statement by over 100 state medical societies and national physician organizations which provides language to assure a fair arbitration process during mediation of disputed claims and forces accountability on health insurance plans by requiring full transparency regarding networks and their adequacy.

 

Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), herself a breast cancer survivor, and Susan Brooks (R-IN) are cosponsoring PALS legislation that would extend the current moratorium on the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation, which assigns a “C” grade to screening mammography for women age 40-49 years and a “B” recommendation for biennial screening mammography beginning at age 50. As radiologists, we are keenly aware that these recommendations are a significant departure from guidelines from nearly every credible scientific society and organization.

 

HR 1970 (MARCA) calls for allowance of submission of claims to Medicare for non-diagnostic services performed by Radiologist Assistants (RAs) under the supervision of a radiologist in both hospital and office settings as well as diagnostic services in hospitals. Thirty one states now recognize licensure for RAs and passage of this bill will provide further credibility to this important group of providers. 

 

Passage of the REDI Act would be good for the entire house of medicine. HR 1554 would effectively halt the accrual of interest from medical school loans as physicians continue their education during their medical residency. This important legislation would be effective in curtailing the tremendous debt our trainees incur during their educational training.

 

All of these state and national issues, as well as many others, will need constant surveillance and adjustment going forward. Your donations to the TRS PAC and RAD PAC continue to help fund these efforts. Your ongoing involvement in our society as dues-paying members is critical to our success. As always, your participation and involvement are encouraged!


Contact Us

Texas Radiological Society

24165 IH-10 West, Ste 217 #510
San Antonio, TX 78257
Phone:    (512) 535-4920
Fax:         (512) 276-6691
Email:      staff@txrad.org