ACR chapters are often the only voice for radiology at the state and local level. One of the primary purposes of any chapter is to represent the interests of their members before government. The ORS membership provides the representation necessary to effect federal and state legislation and regulations. Almost all of the managed care legislation and healthcare reform issues are being dealt with at the state level. Much of the policy for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement is also determined at the state level with direct input from the chapters. Through the ACR’s facilitation, chapters have Medicare Carrier Advisory Committee representatives that make sure that federal policy is implemented with radiology’s input. The ACR has also developed a managed care committee with each chapter to assure that each state learns from the experiences of others in this arena. Over half of the chapters have hired lobbyists to assist them with state legislation and regulations while almost all chapters have a government relations committee dedicated to monitoring state and local action affecting the practice of radiology.
Each chapter has representation in the Council of the ACR. When the ACR Annual Meeting is held, chapter Councilors and Alternate Councilors have an opportunity to express the needs and interests of local members. Representation is based on the number of chapter members. By participating in your Chapter, you can influence what goes on at the Council meeting.
Through the ORS, members have the opportunity for input into the ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards that are approved by the Council of the ACR. These ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards have become very important to hospitals, the courts, and third party payers to name a few. These become guidelines for the practice of radiology.
Although there are multiple pathways to ACR Fellowship, by providing opportunities for leadership and involvement, the ORS gives its members an opportunity for recognition as an ACR Fellow. This designation is attained by only an estimated 10 percent of radiologists that belong to the ACR and represents a significant career accomplishment. The ORS also serves as a vital link for recommendation of candidates for ACR Fellowship to the ACR Committee on Fellowship.
Chapters fulfill an important function by providing educational opportunities for members. These programs are timely, selected on the basis of local radiological needs, and can provide important CME credit to its members.
The Resident and Fellow Section provides an opportunity to influence the education, formation and future career of the backbone of the specialty. Residents are automatically members of the ACR and being a part of the ORS gives the member additional opportunities to become involved with the residents. It also gives the resident a forum to discuss mutual interests and concerns.
The chapter provides an open door to becoming involved in the commission and committee activities of the ACR. State chapters also provide an array of opportunities for volunteerism and leadership development in the chapter committee structure. This committee involvement can provide direct experience with various issues that are important in determining the overall success of the chapter in fulfilling its mission.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of chapter membership rests in the camaraderie and professional sharing which takes place at meetings and other functions. A member knows that he/she is not alone in attempting to find solutions to problems facing radiology today. They work together in an attempt to effect solutions to mutual problems.