Newswise — Washington, DC—The American College of Radiology (ACR) supports the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) efforts to address the challenges that exist within its health system. However, the VA proposal to allow advanced practice nurses to practice independently of a physician’s clinical oversight, regardless of individual state law, could seriously undermine the quality of care that our nation’s heroes receive.
Veterans, and all Americans, deserve ready access to high-quality physician-led, patient-centered care, particularly in regard to medical imaging. Accurate diagnosis and treatment of disease and injury commonly depends on proper interpretation of imaging exams by highly trained radiologist physicians. The safe and appropriate performance of imaging scans, many of which involve radiation, is also dependent on expert radiological technologists with oversight of uniquely trained radiologists.
The many years of comprehensive training necessary to accurately interpret high-tech imaging exams and safely account for radiation used in many scans is largely non-existent among non-physician providers. Removing obligate patient access to radiologists can pose immediate dangers for patients at the point-of-care and increase the possibility of misdiagnosis. In cases of serious illness, the impact may not be reversible. All patients deserve doctors’ expertise.
Veterans often face multiple chronic conditions. These patients need access to greater expertise. Lowering quality of care requirements may impact them more than others. This VA proposal is simply is not a good idea.
The ACR strongly urges the VA to maintain a collaborative, integrated, physician-led approach to care.