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State Leaders Urged to Address “Inequitable” Louisiana Law

Jul 17, 2020

The American Society of Radiologic Technologists is urging government officials to take quick action after a Louisiana bill meant to benefit to essential personnel in the COVID-19 response has overlooked radiologic technologists and radiation therapists. House Bill 70, passed in special session, provides a small, one-time tax rebate to qualified workers.

A letter from ASRT President, Michael Odgren, B.S., R.P.A., R.R.A., R.T.(R)(CT), to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards points out that radiologic technologists and radiation therapists are deemed as essential workers in the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s publication “Guidance on the Essential Critical infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response Version 3.1” which is also cited in the Louisiana bill. However, radiologic technologists, radiation therapists and many other allied health care providers are not included on the list of professions included on the Department of Revenue’s website.

ASRT’s letter to the Louisiana Secretary of Revenue Kim Robinson says, in part, “Providing the tax rebate only to the professions listed on the Department of Revenue’s website is inequitable and potentially divisive to the entire team of health care workers who provide direct patient care to COVID-19 patients.”

In the letter to the governor, ASRT calls for an executive order revising the list to include radiologic technologists and radiation therapists. “ASRT does not agree with the Department’s exclusion of certain health care professions that are included in the CISA guidance document and respectfully requests that radiologic technologists and radiation therapists be included as essential workers eligible to receive the $250 tax rebate. ASRT requests that an executive order adding “radiologic technologists and radiation therapist” to the emergency rule published on July 13 be issued by the Office of the Governor.”

There are nearly 6,000 registered and certified technologists and therapists in Louisiana. The bill offers a $250 tax rebate to essential workers with an adjusted gross income of $50,000 or less. It is unclear how many R.T.s would be eligible, as ASRT's 2019 Wage and Salary Survey identifies full-time salary averages for the profession in Louisiana are about $56,000 per year.