3 ACR Legislative Priorities to Help Radiology Practices Recoup Financial Stability

April 30, 2020

The American College of Radiology outlines three financial priorities for practices as Congress considers a second round of support funding.

As patient care concerns have loomed large during the COVID-19 pandemic, financial restrictions and burdens faced by physician’s offices have also weighed heavy throughout the healthcare industry.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has been vocal from the beginning, outlining its priorities to protect and provide for radiologists, as well as their staff. And, now, as Congress is poised to consider a second round of financial support, the ACR has released its recommendations geared toward safeguarding -- and rekindling -- financial stability for both consumers and provider groups hit hardest by the pandemic.

“The ACR and others in the healthcare community believe aggressive action is necessary to ensure physician practices can resume and maintain routine patient care, address the need for ongoing COVID-19-realted services and simultaneously recofer from the negative economic impacts of the current public health emergency,” college officials said in a statement.

Overall, the ACR outlined three main priorities:

Continue Direct Financial Support for Physicians

This means providing additional funding for newly authorized and expanded small business loans. This would include low-rate, deferred-interest loans, specifically for physicians and a one-time stabilization grant for physicians based on payroll.

Promote Long-Term Financial Stability and Recovery

This move would waive budget neutrality requirements, offering a reprieve to physician practices faced with substantial payment reductions. It would also extend sequestration relief through Dec. 31, 2021, and end the current six-year physician payment freeze by implementing a positive physician update.

Ease Barriers for Providing Care

The ACR recommended securing a moratorium on prior authorization for private and government payers. In addition, they argued for enhanced liability protections for doctors who respond to needs during the pandemic, treating COVID-19-positive patients.

ACR officials acknowledge that this list of priorities could continue to grow in the coming weeks and months, adding it will operate a continued advocacy campaign through May.

“This list may not be exhaustive, but the ACR believes the aforementioned policy recommendations represent critical and necessary steps toward establishing financial stability for physician practices and ensuring access to care for their patients,” college officials said.