Your voice in Washington, D.C.
The Society of Interventional Radiology's government relations and health policy staff members work to further the interests of society members by advocating on their behalf before Congress, regulatory and federal agencies and the White House.
SIR members play a vital role in this process. This section will guide you through our advocacy efforts and the major policy issues that affect the society.
Today's health care headlines
As the country’s largest payor, Medicare plays a substantial role in reimbursement issues facing providers today. The decisions made through Congress and regulated through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), can have a profound effect upon your practice and the health care you provide for your patients.
SIR advocates before Congress and various regulatory and federal agencies to address the needs and concerns of our members. While the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) was still in play, the SIR advocacy team lobbied to optimize Medicare reimbursement for IR services and ensured that payment for those services were not needlessly cut.
Now as MACRA and the Quality Payment Program have taken over, SIR lobbyists work with members of Congress and CMS to ensure that SIR member needs are adequately addressed. Specifically, SIR has analyzed the current law and regulations and designed an implementation plan to maximize our member’s participation in the program. SIR will continue to educate our membership and assist them in complying and navigating the QPP laws as they progress.
Through Medicare, Congress provides funding for graduate medical education (GME) programs across the United States. The Medicare graduate medical education program does not promote the establishment of medical residency training programs for newly recognized primary medical specialties. If a new primary medical specialty is recognized, the cap on the number of residency slots eligible for Medicare graduate medical education funding does not increase to accommodate medical residency training programs for this new specialty. Instead, a teaching hospital that establishes a new medical residency training program must decide whether to reduce the number of Medicare-covered residency slots in another other medical residency training program or to operate the program with partial or no Medicare GME funding. One potential way of promoting the creation of new residency programs is to redistribute unused residency slots. SIR drafted a bill which requires a portion of those unused slots to be redistributed into a national pool, whereby institutions can opt to reapply for them. Priority would then be given to newly created primary specialties, along with teaching hospitals in rural areas and newly accredited teaching hospitals. The Enhancing Opportunities for Doctors Act of 2016 (H.R 5188) was introduced on May 11, 2016 and is currently in the committees of jurisdiction.
Executive Order 13813
On Oct. 12, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on healthcare, which would purportedly expand access to health insurance to millions of Americans. The executive order instructs certain federal agencies to loosen health insurance plan regulations, making it easier for individuals to obtain coverage on the open market. While the order does not necessarily repeal Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it does amend the way insurance coverage is regulated. The result of this action could have a substantial impact on IR patients and their ability to access care. SIR has provided some FAQs related to the executive order.