• State Regulations and Legislation

ASRT Opposes AZ Licensure Exemption

May 17, 2016

The American Society of Radiologic Technologists opposes the Arizona State Legislature’s decision to allow physician assistants to operate diagnostic x-ray imaging equipment.

Senate Bill 1096, which reauthorized the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency and the Medical Radiologic Technology Board of Examiners, was introduced by Sen. Nancy Barto in April 2016. Rep. Heather Carter added an amendment to the bill exempting physician assistants from obtaining a license from the MRTBE before operating imaging equipment that emits ionizing radiation, including fluoroscopy equipment. The measure added physician assistants to the definition of licensed practitioners.

The ASRT contacted Sen. Barto and Rep. Carter to object to the amendment and explain why it is crucial for all personnel who perform medical imaging equipment to complete the educational and regulatory requirements established by the Arizona MRTBE. However, the amended bill was subsequently approved by a vote of the House and referred to the Senate for concurrence.

The passage of S.B. 1096 ensures that the MRTBE is reauthorized for the next two years, which is vital as the board oversees licensure standards and provides support for more than 8,000 technologists in Arizona. However, while PAs are licensed in the state of Arizona to perform certain physician assistant procedures, their education does not require any education or training in radiation safety or radiation protection. Approximately 1,800 licensed physician assistants practice in Arizona.

“We do not support the Arizona Legislature’s decision to allow PAs to perform medical imaging procedures without the proper education and training,” said ASRT CEO Sal Martino, Ed.D., R.T.(R), FASRT, CAE. “This should be seen as a cautionary tale for all of us, and a warning that it could happen anywhere. The ASRT and the state affiliate societies need to be vigilant and ready to take action to keep this from happening in the future.”

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