MITA Applauds Patient Group Efforts to Urge Congress to Protect Patient Access to Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy

11.14.13

Washington, D.C. – The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) today applauded the 13 patient groups who submitted a letter urging Congress to reject harmful policy proposals that would restrict patient access to life-saving medical imaging and radiation therapy technologies.

“Medical imaging and radiation therapy have transformed the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of diseases for everything ranging from cancer to arthritis to Alzheimer’s disease,” said Gail Rodriguez, executive director of MITA. “It is imperative that Congress work with patients and physicians to implement imaging policies and support coverage decisions that promote patient access to the right scan and the right therapy at the right time.”

In the letter, the patient advocacy organizations ask Congress to reject additional reimbursement cuts, support Medicare coverage decisions that facilitate access to appropriate medical imaging and oppose the use of burdensome, non-transparent obstacles to appropriate scans, such as radiology benefits managers (RBMs) in Medicare. Instead, the groups recommended widespread adoption of evidence-based, physician-developed appropriateness criteria to guide utilization of medical imaging technologies.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the country. The large majority of lung cancers are diagnosed at late stage, accounting, in part, for the low survival rate of just 15 percent,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, president & CEO of Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). “It is critical that those at risk for lung cancer have access to responsible screening using CT scans. With lung cancer screening, tens of thousands of lives could be saved. Screening those at high risk now will dramatically make a difference and will open the door to much faster advances in research on all stages of lung cancer.”

“Colon cancer patients cannot afford to lose access to medical imaging technologies, such as virtual colonoscopy, that have been proven to save lives and lower long-term healthcare costs,” said Erika Hanson Brown, founder of COLONTOWN and director for patient/survivor engagement of Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation. “As a colon cancer survivor, I hope Congress will take our real-life experiences into account when making difficult decisions about the federal budget this fall.”

“Many cancer survivors like me would not be here today if not for medical imaging or radiation therapy,” said Suzanne Lindley, executive director and founder of YES! Beat Liver Tumors. “Implementing reasonable policies that protect, rather than restrict, patient access to these technologies is the only way to improve survivorship.”

The letter to Congress was signed by: American Urological Association, Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation, Colon Cancer Alliance, COLONTOWN, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, Kidney Cancer Association, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lung Cancer Alliance, Prevent Cancer Foundation, Society for Women’s Health Research, Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, Yes! Beat Liver Tumors and ZERO- The End of Prostate Cancer.

More than 45 patient advocates from across the country gathered today to share their real-life stories about the impact of medical imaging and radiation therapy on their lives and hand-deliver the letter to their members of Congress.

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The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of NEMA, is the collective voice of medical imaging equipment, radiation therapy and radiopharmaceutical manufacturers, innovators and product developers. It represents companies whose sales comprise more than 90 percent of the global market for medical imaging technology and radiation therapy. For more information, visit www.medicalimaging.org. Follow MITA on Twitter @MITAToday.

Lung Cancer Alliance, www.lungcanceralliance.org, is the only national non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to patient support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer.  Lung Cancer Alliance is committed to leading the movement to reverse decades of stigma and neglect by empowering those with or at risk for the disease, elevating awareness and changing health policy.

COLONTOWN is a patient support community for people living with and past lower digestive system diseases and colorectal cancers, their families and friends. Through self- advocacy, expert connections, and shared experience, COLONTOWN provides a place that delivers support for the alleviation of suffering and the advancement of survivorship.

The principal goal of Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation is to permanently eliminate the threat of colon cancer through discovery of a cure. To this end, we will fund cutting-edge research so that the brightest minds and best institutions are empowered to cure colon cancer for good. Until then, Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation is committed to significantly improving the treatment experience for patients and caregivers, and to dramatically raising awareness about colon cancer in general. The organization builds a culture of care and foster relationships with research institutions, advocacy groups, the health care community, and the general public. Chris4Life’s four core values are Compassion, Empowerment, Perseverance, and Life. www.chris4life.org

YES! Beat Liver Tumors seeks to change the face of primary liver cancer or advanced cancer that has spread to the liver by: advocating for increased funding for cancer research, educating liver tumor survivors of possible surveillance and treatment options, and by being a point of contact and support for those affected by liver tumors.