• State Regulations and Legislation

WV May Repeal Patient Protection Law

Mar 02, 2017

Companion bills in the West Virginia Senate and House of Representatives would repeal a 40-year-old law that protects patients from potential radiation overexposure during medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures. 

Introduced by Sen. Craig Blair and Rep. Daniel Hamrick, Senate Bill 195 and House Bill 2681 would eliminate the West Virginia Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Technology Board of Examiners. The board oversees the licensing program for the radiologic technologists who administer ionizing radiation during medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures. The state has more than 3,100 certified radiologic technologists licensed by the board.

Radiologic technologists and radiation therapists operate some of the most sophisticated and highly technical equipment used in health care today. They are responsible for radiation protection measures, radiation physics, patient positioning and equipment protocols. Under the state’s current licensure law, radiologic technologists must graduate from an accredited educational program, pass a national certification examination and earn annual continuing education credits to ensure that their skills are up to date in order to provide high-quality patient care.

According to West Virginia Society of Radiologic Technologists President Jackie Johnston, lawmakers are putting patients’ health and safety at risk in an effort to reduce government oversight of health professions. “Patient safety comes first. You wouldn’t want to be treated by a doctor who didn’t go to medical school and never passed the board examination, or get your prescriptions filled by an unlicensed pharmacist who didn’t go to pharmacy school. The state owes its citizens the assurance that if you need a radiologic image or a radiation therapy treatment, you are imaged or treated by a radiographer or a radiation therapist who graduated from an accredited radiologic educational program and who has passed the national board examination and is an expert in radiation protection measures.”

Passage of S.B. 195 and H.B. 2681 would allow personnel with no education or training in radiation safety measures, radiation protection best practices or equipment operation to perform medical imaging or radiation therapy procedures. “By eliminating requirements, West Virginia is conceding that uneducated, unqualified and unprepared personnel could perform radiologic technology duties, which puts patients at risk for errors, multiple exams and radiation overexposure,” said Johnston.


Misty Jarrell
Having a competent, qualified person taking your radiographic examination is very important in regards to patient safety. It's not just as easy as pushing a button and obtaining the image. Understanding the physics and positioning of anatomy are two key components to producing a diagnostic image to be interpreted for medical diagnosis. Limiting the amount of radiation that a patient is exposed to is also vital especially when dealing with the pediatric patients. The laws that attempt to allow unqualified personnel to be able to perform radiographic procedures are dangerous. In an attempt to lower costs for medical care, these laws are putting patients in danger of being exposed to too much radiation and or having missed diagnoses due to images not being of diagnostic quality. Furthermore, just because a licensed professional holds credentials in one field, such as nursing, it does not mean that they are qualified to perform or interpret radiographic studies in a competent manner unless they also hold credentials for the radiographic modality for which they are performing or interpreting studies.
Lorenza Clausen
Citizens need to contact their representatives and voice their concerns. After attending 7 RT in DC campaigns over the years to lobby for minimum standards for all states, the one thing the offices always said was "we want to hear from our constituents" I can go to offices and discuss issues but if I can not vote for them they really don't have to listen to what I have to say. Write, email or call. It is very simple and does not have to be a lengthy piece. simple and straightforward the "whys" of it being or not being a good thing
Mary Boswell
I believe that state licensure does little to protect patients. If you read the bills being presented in Missouri almost everyone is allowed to use x-ray equipment if they have any initial behind their name. The only benefit will be the money that is collected by all the technologist whom already pay plenty for their continuing education and yearly fees.
Rena Pederson
I find it quite interesting to know many states require you to have state licensure to cut hair, but they don't require someone to be licensed to "radiate" your body! Something is wrong with this picture! Maybe if we had our state representative placed on the table as a patient and press that button, they would change there mind!
Kristin Seitz
When I read the Missouri bill, it sounds very similar to what we have in Ohio. Missouri will require ARRT or the appropriate registry for the modality. It sounds like they're headed in the right direction.
Kristin Seitz
Does anyone know the justification for repealing the law? Any WV techs available for insight?


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