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Federal Bill Ignores Personnel Standards

Jul 08, 2015
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists opposes Section 4003 in House Resolution 6,  the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill that reduces the technical component payment for diagnostic x-ray exams performed with film-based radiography equipment as an incentive for facilities to transition to digital radiography equipment. According to the bill, by reducing the technical component payment, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration will receive additional funds to conduct research, develop and approve drugs for a wide variety of rare diseases.

Section 4003 does not include a vital patient-safety measure — language that will require digital radiography equipment operators to meet specific educational and certification standards. The ASRT believes that all personnel performing medical imaging or radiation therapy procedures should be educationally prepared and clinically competent. By excluding personnel requirements, the bill overlooks the importance of having only highly qualified, registered radiologic technologists operate digital radiography equipment.

For more than a decade, ASRT worked with legislators on Capitol Hill to establish minimum educational and certification standards for personnel who perform medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures. Congress did not take action on that common-sense legislation, yet lawmakers are now considering a measure to force facilities to use digital radiography equipment​ without including any educational or certification requirements for the personnel who will administer the ionizing radiation during patient procedures.

The ASRT encourages radiologic technologists to immediately contact their representative on Capitol Hill to voice opposition to Section 4003. Let lawmakers know that Section 4003 will only result in nominal cost savings and will not improve patient safety or quality of care. In addition, remind them that digital radiography uses ionizing radiation, so Section 4003 should include legislative language that requires the personnel operating the equipment to be registered radiologic technologists.

Contact information for representatives can be found at http://cqrcengage.com/asrt/HR6.

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