MITA joins coalition to lobby for COVID-19 relief

By staff writers

May 12, 2020 -- The Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA) has joined with a number of imaging organizations to lobby congressional leaders for direct financial support to radiology providers to be included in the next COVID-19 legislative relief package.

In the letter, the organizations also requested that the U.S. Congress waive budget neutrality provisions within the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) rule for 2020.

The coalition includes MITA, the American College of Radiology (ACR), the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), the Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA), the Association for Quality Imaging (AQI), the Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI), the Radiology Business and Management Association (RBMA), the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS), and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI).

The groups are seeking hazard play for frontline and essential medical imaging and radiology workers, including sonographers, radiation therapists, and nuclear medicine and radiologic technologists. What's more, the coalition is also asking for the extension of broad civil immunity, with exceptions for gross negligence or willful misconduct, to all healthcare personnel who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior authorization requirements and appropriate use criteria consultation should also be temporarily waived for the duration of the national emergency, MITA said.

"As this letter makes clear, the coronavirus pandemic and surge of COVID-19 cases have forced many radiology practices and departments to make difficult decisions about reducing operation, taking pay cuts, and furloughing staff," MITA Chair Dennis Durmis said in a statement. "With recent data showing a dramatic decline in cancer screenings, especially where medical imaging is used, we can also reasonably expect that many cancers are going undetected. This will have an enormous human and financial cost, both during and after we emerge from the other side of this pandemic."

In addition, MITA said that it also sent its own separate letter to congressional leaders, requesting direct financial support to providers, as well as, among other requests, the inclusion of the Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act of 2019 (H.R. 3772) in the next relief package.

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