Imaging societies push for passage, changes to bill that would grant radiologists hazard pay

Several major imaging societies are pushing for the passage of proposed legislation that would grant radiologists and other front-line healthcare workers “hazard pay” during this and future public-health emergencies.

The groups—which altogether represent more than 300,000 professionals—expressed their support in a letter this week to lawmakers. Under the Hazard Pay for the Front Lines During Health Emergencies Act, radiologists, technologists and others would receive 25% in additional salary to help them sustain through the crisis, along with 100% guaranteed reimbursement for their expenses.

“This is exactly the kind of legislation that Congress should look at that pays special attention to these essential healthcare workers by assisting them if they have incurred additional costs during the pandemic due to childcare, senior care or protective measures to keep their families safe,” the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, American College of Radiology, American Society for Radiation Oncology and others wrote in a May 4 letter to the bill’s sponsors. “It is vital that this framework be included in any COVID-19 response legislation that Congress next debates.”

In addition, the medical societies are advocating for the inclusion of radiation therapists in any final bill. Such professionals have been placed at a high risk of contracting COVID-19 during their duties, and the Department of Homeland Security has deemed them as “as members of the essential critical infrastructure workforce,” the groups noted.

“Radiation therapists, like dozens of other healthcare professionals, are tirelessly putting their lives on the line to protect others during this pandemic,” added the letter writers, which also include the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, the Society of Interventional Radiology and the Association for Quality Imaging.

U.S. Reps. Kendra Horn, D-Okla., and Joe Neguse, R-Colo., first introduced the bill on April 10, when it was referred to committees for consideration.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a battle, and our nurses, doctors and first responders are on the front lines every day, sacrificing their own health to save lives and protect our communities,” Neguse said in a statement shared last month. “Our front-line workers deserve hazard pay for the duties they are performing throughout this pandemic and for putting their own lives on the line.”