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LINTHICUM, MD, March 9, 2011—Nine medical specialty societies, led by the American Urological Association (AUA) and the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) have joined forces to support legislation introduced in the Maryland General Assembly, “Health Occupations – Imaging and Radiation Therapy Services – Accreditation,” (Senate Bill 808/House Bill 782) to amend the state’s current self-referral law, which threatens to seriously restrict patient access to imaging and radiation therapy services.

The groups today issued a letter of testimony to state Senator Joan Carter Conway, Chair of the Maryland Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee, and state Delegate Peter A. Hammen, Chair of the Maryland House Health & Government Operations Committee. Both committees are scheduled to hold hearings on the bill this week.

The AUA today issued the following statement in support of the legislation:

“Maryland’s self-referral law was enacted nearly two decades ago and has not kept pace with the changes in healthcare practice that have come with the significant technological advances and improved standards of care. Today’s treating physician uses imaging technology to develop accurate and timely treatment plans for their patients that result in less costly, safer care.

Passage of Senate Bill 808 and House Bill 782 will ensure that Maryland does not become the only state where patients are denied the option to receive imaging services from the provider of their choice, regardless of the location where services are performed, and where patients cannot receive cancer care in an integrated medical group setting.  Our organizations are committed to patient choice and support the legislation’s provision requiring referring physicians to provide their patients with a choice of alternative providers within 25 miles of the referring physician’s practice.

Maryland’s self-referral law represents a serious impediment to patient access to high-quality health services and must be amended to preserve patient access to timely treatment. Denying patients the option to receive imaging services from their provider of choice is a step backward, when we should be looking forward.”

Additional groups supporting this legislation include: the American Association of Clinical Urologists, American Academy of Neurology, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American College of Cardiology (Maryland Chapter), American College of Surgeons, American Gastroenterological Association and the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. To view the letter, click here.

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 17,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients.

Wendy Isett, AUA