Rights, like muscles, need regular exercising in order to grow stronger

September 5, 2008

Most radiologists probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but as reporters and editors covering the field of radiology, we do. One element of the First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, or, in more modern terms, the news media.

Most radiologists probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but as reporters and editors covering the field of radiology, we do. One element of the First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, or, in more modern terms, the news media.

It finds a good expression this month in the "Imaging & the Law" column (page 17) by attorney Thomas W. Greeson, a longtime legal contributor to Diagnostic Imaging. Greeson carefully follows proposed changes in laws, rules, and regulations affecting imaging and frequently reports them here.

This column is particularly relevant because it covers proposed Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule changes in areas near and dear to the practice of radiology: self-referral, anti-markup restrictions, and the qualifications for personnel at imaging facilities.

Traditionally in the U.S., the news media have played a vital role in keeping citizens and other residents informed about the activities of government. As part of the radiology news media, we feel we have an obligation to report this information and help you better understand the impact it will have on your practice. This information also enhances your opportunity, guaranteed under the First Amendment, to petition the government for changes in bad proposals, as happened earlier this year when CMS scuttled a plan that would have limited the performance of coronary CT angiography to large academic institutions.

Reporting this information can be challenging, but we feel gratified to have a part in that task.

-John C. Hayes is editor of Diagnostic Imaging.