SCAI Seeks Exemption in CARE Bill for Techs Under Dr. Supervision
June 08, 2012
Earlier today, SCAI submitted a written statement to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health seeking an exemption in the “Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility, and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Act of 2011” (H.R. 2104) for procedures performed in cardiovascular catheterization labs where technicians are working under the direct supervision of physicians.
While supportive of the bill's overall goal “to make the provision of technical services for medical imaging examinations and radiation therapy treatments safer, more accurate, and less costly” and supportive of the growth of training and credentialing programs for cardiovascular catheterization technicians, SCAI points out "unlike most non-invasive imaging procedures where there is no physician in the room, invasive cardiovascular procedures are performed only while a physician who has formal training in radiation safety is in the room with the technician and that technician is under the direct supervision of that physician."
Medicare requires this direct physician supervision for all invasive cardiovascular procedures. The supervising physicians are responsible for all aspects of care during invasive cardiovascular procedures, and they bear the responsibility for radiation safety. This is an issue covered by continuing educational processes and is a subject covered on the Board Certification exam for interventional cardiologists.
SCAI is concerned that in emergency situations, requiring a certified technician to be in the room could make billing for the proper care of a heart attack victim illegal. This would create a worrisome disincentive for the delivery of high-quality care.
The Society is also concerned that the criteria to be used in identifying acceptable credentialing organizations is very vague and if the cardiovascular technician certifications are not recognized, there could be significant personnel shortages and an inability to provide necessary care.