Radiation Oncology Community Voices Strong Support for Radiation Therapy Patient Safety Legislation Introduced in Congress
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A coalition of radiation oncology community leaders – representing thousands of patients, physicians, and manufacturers throughout the United States – commends Representatives Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and John Barrow (D-GA) for introducing the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence (CARE) in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Act in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2104). The CARE Act takes an important step in ensuring utmost safety for patients receiving potentially life-saving radiation therapy procedures by setting education and certification standards for the radiation therapists, medical physicists and medical dosimetrists who treat Medicare patients.
The radiation oncology community is fully committed to delivering safe and effective treatments to all patients. Today, more than 1 million Medicare patients suffering from cancer undergo radiation therapy each year. Through the establishment of education standards for the radiologic personnel who play a critical role in the delivery of radiation therapy, and additional patient safeguards, quality of care will be improved. In the field of radiation oncology, the CARE Act would use a three-tiered approach to improve the quality and safety of radiation therapy delivery by requiring these medical personnel to graduate from a specialized education program, pass a national certification exam, and maintain competency by obtaining continuing education.
Radiation therapy is one of the most commonly-used cancer treatments along with surgery and chemotherapy. About half of all people diagnosed with cancer are treated with radiation therapy, either alone or in combination with other types of cancer treatment. New and advanced radiation therapy treatment options are eradicating cancers that were once thought to be terminal and helping patients survive longer, with better quality of life. In addition, these new treatment modalities are more precise and allow physicians to more accurately target tumors so that they can maximize treatment of the cancer cells and minimize damage to surrounding healthy cells.
Radiation oncology community leaders believe that the most successful path to ensuring full patient safety is through collaboration among the cancer community, broader healthcare community and other stakeholders. The community strongly urges Congress to support, and swiftly pass, the CARE Act in order to improve the quality and safety of care and reassure patients that their treatments are being assessed, planned, and delivered by highly qualified personnel.
The radiation oncology community includes: American Society for Radiation Oncology, US Oncology, Radiation Therapy Alliance, Community Oncology Alliance, American College of Medical Physics, American Society of Radiologic Technologists, American Association of Physicists in Medicine, Varian Medical Equipment, Elekta.
SOURCE Radiation Therapy Alliance