The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has removed language in a proposed rule that would have granted certified nurse practitioners the authority to perform, supervise and interpret medical imaging exams.
Section 17.415(d)(1)(i)(B) in the proposal included the following measure: "A CNP has full practice authority to: Order, perform, supervise, and interpret laboratory and imaging studies.” The American Society of Radiologic Technologists opposed the language as it would put veterans at risk for errors, multiple exams and possible radiation overexposure. Only registered radiologic technologists should perform procedures that use ionizing radiation, and only experienced radiologists should interpret medical images.
ASRT and other radiologic science organizations submitted formal comments asking the VA to remove the language. In addition, ASRT members and affiliate members banded together and submitted thousands of comments to the VA expressing their concerns about allowing personnel to perform medical imaging procedures without formal education in radiation dose management, patient positioning techniques and medical imaging physics.
After reviewing the public comments, the VA announced on Dec. 14, 2016, that it reversed its decision and removed the “perform, supervise and interpret” clause in the rule and replaced it with language that will allow nurses to: “Order laboratory and imaging studies and integrate the results into clinical decision making.”
The VA included the following statement in the final rule: “It is not the VA’s intent to replace our highly qualified radiologists or radiological technologists. VA is committed to providing high-quality health care for our nation’s veterans and is proud of the outstanding work performed by radiologists in our system.”
“We’d like to thank the VA for listening to our concerns and amending its proposal so veterans will continue to receive high-quality care from educated and qualified radiologic technologists,” said ASRT President Mike Latimer, M.S.R.S., R.T.(R). “As a retired Navy veteran, I’m incredibly proud of our membership and the radiologic technology community for taking the time to educate the VA about our role on the health care team and the technical skills and expertise we bring to the VA system to make sure veterans, and all patients, receive the best care possible.”