Georgia Society of Radiologic Technologists, Inc.
A Proud Affiliate of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists
Georgia Licensure Bill History
Hello Fellow Imaging Professionals,
Georgia remains one of only 11 states that do not license medical imaging professionals, and our current state regulations (a minimum of six hours of radiation safety training) are definitely inadequate and not even being enforced due to budget cuts. The issue is patient safety. Patients assume that anyone given the responsibility of performing a medical imaging procedure is properly trained; however, there are still many offices, urgent care centers, pain clinics, and other areas that employ untrained or undertrained personnel to operate x-ray, fluoroscopy, and advanced imaging modalities.
Last spring, Georgia Senator Tommie Williams introduced a medical imaging licensure bill into the state senate. He did this after learning some of the issues facing imaging professionals in Georgia and, in his haste to get it into the legislative session, he pulled an old radiologic technology licensure bill. This bill stated that anyone operating x-ray equipment must be a registered technologist. Those of you have been around awhile will remember that this bill never got anywhere due to opposition from physicians who did not want to hire both a medical assistant and radiologic technologist.
Over the past several months, members of the GSRT have reviewed successful bills from other states and consulted with Christine Lung and others at the American Society of Radiologic Technologists to revise the bill into something that will protect the public from unnecessary radiation exposure and non-diagnostic imaging exams and, perhaps, better meet the needs of the medical community. The new draft of the bill is posted for your review. It differs from the original version in that is does include a provision for a limited x-ray machine operator and a grandfathering clause for individuals who have been taking radiographs in a physicians’ office for over three years.
Representatives from the GSRT have already begun meeting with lobbyists from medical organizations and are setting appointments with legislators. We need support from the Georgia Hospital Association, Georgia Radiological Society, Medical Association of Georgia, among others. There is not money in the GSRT budget to hire a lobbyist, so this will be a purely grassroots effort and we need your support. Please spread the word to fellow technologists and let your radiologists, hospital administrators and others know this bill is out there. Please focus on the patient safety aspect – medical radiation exposure is in the news and has now replaced background radiation as the leading source of exposure.
Please check back in for more information coming soon – including information on how to contact your local legislator. In the meantime, if you have comments or would like to become more involved, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn Clavijo, M.S., R.T.(R)
GSRT Vice President and Legislative Chair
Currently, there are no uniform, national standards for personnel who perform radiologic procedures. The Consumer-Patient Radiation Health and Safety Act of 1981 established voluntary guidelines for states to follow in regulating health care personnel who perform radiologic procedures. Unfortunately, only 35 states have adopted those guidelines, and standards vary dramatically from state to state. In the remaining 15 states and the District of Columbia, tens of thousands of individuals with limited training and no credentials are allowed to provide medical imaging and radiation therapy care. Without uniform national standards, patients remain unprotected and the radiologic science profession remains open to uncertified, inadequately educated personnel.
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists and its affiliate societies believe it is time to make the provisions of the Consumer-Patient Radiation Health and Safety Act mandatory. In 1997, ASRT launched an aggressive campaign to protect patients from overexposure to radiation during radiologic procedures and help reduce the cost of administering health care. The way to achieve this goal is to introduce a bill, the Consumer Assurance of Radiologic Excellence (CARE) Act, before the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2000-2001 session of Congress. This bill pursues basic educational and certification standards for health care workers who administer radiologic procedures in every state in the union. The bill would ensure that patients undergoing all types of radiologic procedures have the same assurance of competency as those receiving mammograms under the provisions of the Mammography Quality Standards Act.
ASRT Position Statement:
Radiologic technologists throughout the country support the establishment of minimum standards by the federal government for personnel who perform medical imaging exams and deliver radiation therapy treatments.
By ensuring a minimum level of education, knowledge and skill for radiologic personnel, federal minimum standards will:
1.Ensure that quality information is presented for diagnosis and that quality radiation therapy treatments are delivered, leading to accurate diagnosis, treatment and cure. Poor quality images can lead to additional testing, delays in treatment and needless anxiety for the patient.
2.Reduce health care costs by lowering the number of radiologic examinations that must be repeated due to improper positioning or poor technique. Repeated radiologic examinations cost the U.S. health care system millions of dollars annually in needless medical bills.
3.Improve the safety of radiologic procedures. Administered properly, radiation is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis, treatment and management of disease. But most radiologic procedures also carry a potential health risk, and radiation can be harmful if miss-administered.
The American College of Radiology represents more than 30,000 diagnostic radiologists, radiation oncologists, radiology residents and medical physicists. According to Executive Director John Curry, "The ACR is a strong advocate of all personnel involved in imaging procedures being qualified by training and experience. The radiologic technologist is a key individual in the operation of a high quality imaging department, and should be qualified to carry out their role in a manner that assures quality.
The International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists is a coalition of 57 national radiographer societies from 55 countries, representing more than 100,000 medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals. "National standards of education are an extremely important prerequisite for high quality diagnostic and therapeutic services," said ISRRT Secretary General T.J.D. West. "The international community fully supports efforts to bring the standards of practice throughout the United States up to those that are enjoyed in many other developed countries."
The Association of Educators in Radiological Sciences Inc., the largest organization for radiologic science educators in the United States, also joined the nationwide effort to pass federal minimum standards for medical imaging technologists and radiation therapists.
"AERS is very pleased to provide tangible evidence of our working relationship with ASRT leadership on the issue of federal minimum standards," said Rick Carlton, M.S., R.T.(R) (CV), FAERS, president of AERS and assistant professor of radiologic sciences at Arkansas State University. "We believe it is critical that all members of the profession pull together to achieve worthwhile goals such as this one. We urge all educators and all members of the radiologic and imaging sciences to support these types of initiatives because they provide better services for the public, while increasing recognition of our professions."
The AERS Board of Directors voted in late October to urge the U.S. Congress to pass the Consumer Assurance of Radiologic Excellence (CARE) Act in the interest of both quality and cost efficient medical care.
The Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging And Radiation Therapy
The Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy is a coalition of health care organizations dedicated to the provision of safe, high quality radiologic care. We believe the personnel who perform medical imaging examinations and plan and deliver radiation therapy treatments should be required to demonstrate competence in their area of practice. Competency can be demonstrated through graduation from an accredited educational program, certification by a national examining organization or licensure by the state.
The Alliance's goals are to:
1.Ensure the quality of patient care by pursuing standards for the certification and education of medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals.
2.Educate patients about medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures and the personnel who perform them.
3.Encourage lawmakers at the state and federal level to recognize the vital role that qualified personnel have in the safe, accurate delivery of radiologic procedures and the provision of quality patient care.
4.The Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy supports the establishment of minimum standards by the federal government for personnel who perform medical imaging exams and deliver radiation therapy treatments.
American Society of Radiologic Technologists
Society of Nuclear Medicine-Technologist Section
Alliance Charter Members:
American Association of Physicists in Medicine
American College of Medical Physics
American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
Association of Educators in Radiologic Sciences
Association of Vascular and Interventional Radiographers
Joint Review Committee on Education in Nuclear Medicine Technology
Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board
Section for Magnetic Resonance Technologists of ISMRM
Society for Radiation Oncology Administrators
The quest for Federal Minimum Standards continues. Representative Rick Lazio of New York has reaffirmed his commitment to introduce the bill, despite entering the Senate race against Hillary Clinton. He has 15 confirmed co-sponsors in the House and the ASRT is seeking a sponsor for the Senate bill. ASRT has developed a Grass Roots Network and a PAC to assist in the legislative process.
State societies are urged to become active participants in the legislative process. Local affiliate societies and educational programs are being contacted to solicit their assistance in the fight for federal minimum standards. All radiologic science professionals are being encouraged to write letters to their legislators in support of the CARE Act. Without the passage of this legislation, uncertified, inadequately educated workers will continue to represent a risk to patients and compromise the quality of radiologic care.