April 16, 2020
|Congressman Greg Murphy, MD|
Last week, SNMMI had the chance to sit down and talk with Congressman Greg Murphy, MD, a urologist representing North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional district. Congressman Murphy is the first physician to sign on to HR 3772, the Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act. Dr. Murphy has spent most of his professional career in clinical practice and administrative leadership positions. His surgical practice site is Vidant Medical Center, a 1,000-bed Level 1 Trauma Center, which serves 29 eastern North Carolina counties. He previously served three years there as chief of staff.
When asked about transitioning into his role as a legislator, Dr. Murphy said that he had never planned to do this. When he was first approached about an opportunity to join the North Carolina General Assembly, the legislature had no physicians. Since the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) is a part-time governing body, this gave Dr. Murphy the perfect opportunity to serve eastern North Carolinians both as a physician and as the only doctor in the legislature.
After four years of service in the NCGA, Dr. Murphy felt called to take his public service to a larger stage, in Washington, D.C. Following four elections, in 10 months, against 25 different candidates, Dr. Murphy was sworn into office in September of 2019.
As a physician, Congressman Murphy has been able to provide perspective that most members of Congress just aren’t able to. “I have 30 years of bedside experience, I have run a small business practice, I served as a chief of staff of a major hospital, and I still practice,” Dr. Murphy said. But maybe the most helpful insight the congressman can provide is that he understands the provider.
That provider perspective has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Murphy has been at the forefront of providing not just North Carolinians but all Americans with helpful updates and perspective on the disease. His team has collected some very helpful resources on his website.
That provider perspective has now also supported the nuclear medicine community. When asked why he had signed onto HR 3772, Dr. Murphy said, “Staging prostate cancer has been at best a guess over the years. As good as MRI is, these scans produce a lot of false positives and a lot of false negatives. Nuclear medicine creates a great picture.” He later went on to speak to the importance of an accurate diagnosis as it relates to the treatment: “With all the new personalized treatments available, patients no longer have to go through ‘carpet bomb’ treatment. We are able to develop personalized treatment plans that are specifically tailored for the patient.”
In addition to patient health and well-being, Dr. Murphy also noted the financial advantages of a correct diagnostic. “When we are able to correctly diagnose the first time, we are able to save patients time and money.”
SNMMI President Dr. Vasken Dilsizian expressed his gratitude to have Congressman Murphy’s support on HR 3772, “The bill would address an unequitable payment flaw in CMS’s Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System by extending appropriate reimbursement for approved nuclear medicine and molecular imaging procedures. This would stimulate development of new diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals and ensure patient access to life-altering precision medicine procedures.”
SNMMI is grateful to be able to work with Dr. Murphy on HR 3772, and we look forward to working together in the future.