Advocacy activities promote awareness among policymakers of how nuclear medicine and molecular imaging improve patient outcomes. At the federal, state and regional levels, SNMMI continually makes the case to legislators, regulators and private payers for approval of proven new procedures and applications, as well as appropriate reimbursement to allow patient access to innovative new tests and treatments.
SNMMI is working cooperatively with peer organizations and industry to optimize reimbursement for nuclear medicine procedures. Staff and members are educating and raising awareness about a wide array of issues among legislators, regulators such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and payers. In addition, SNMMI continues to provide support through its coding and reimbursement website, which is consulted more than 20,000 times annually.
Optimizing reimbursement.
At the same time, the society is working to improve understanding among those developing new radiopharmaceuticals of the types of evidence FDA and CMS need to approve them. CMS and FDA will offer educational sessions at the SNMMI Annual Meeting.
Educating the community.
In a joint effort by SNMMI, CORAR and MITA (organized by Alpine Group), patient advocates with a wide range of health conditions flew to Washington, DC, for meetings on Capitol Hill to urge support for a bill that would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reclassify diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals as drugs.
SNMMI continues to advocate for federal funding for development of new Mo-99 sources, and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration continues to support the development of domestic sources of Mo-99 that don’t require the use of highly enriched uranium.
Ensuring adequate supply of Mo-99.
The society successfully encouraged the U.S. Pharmacopeia to write a new chapter on compounding radiopharmaceuticals and to put qualified individuals on the writing committee. The FDA is working to coordinate its efforts in this area with USP.
Developing compounding standards.
Over the past year, SNMMI joined with other organizations in urging Congress to increase National Institutes of Health funding. The 2018 Budget Bill passed in March expands NIH funding by $3 billion for 2018.
Expanding NIH funding.
David Douglas, MD (right), SNMMI’s 2017 Slosky Fellow, greets Andrew Fuentes, legislative aide to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. He spent the day on Capitol Hill discussing legislative and regulatory issues affecting nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, including NIH research funding.
In 2017, SNMMI-TS Technologist Advocacy Group representatives (TAGs) successfully opposed bills in West Virginia and New Hampshire that would have ended licensure; legislation mandating licensure is moving forward in several states in 2018.
Promoting state licensure.
SNMMI-TS has blocked encroachment by other healthcare providers, such as nurse practitioners, who wanted the authority to perform nuclear medicine procedures without adequate training or experience. In addition, TAGs successfully amended regulations and statutes in Maryland, Vermont, and North Carolina to lift restrictions on nuclear medicine technologists.
Ensuring scope of practice.
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