Physician Assistant FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve heard that physician assistants have introduced legislation in some states that would allow them to perform fluoroscopy. What is the situation?

In nearly half of the states, PAs already are allowed by law to perform fluoroscopy exams. That’s because PAs are considered licensed practitioners in those states, just like physicians and dentists. In a few states where PAs are not already allowed to perform fluoroscopy, PA organizations have asked for exemptions to R.T. licensure laws so that PAs could perform fluoroscopy, or they have asked to be included in the definition of licensed practitioners.

Where is this happening?

Laws allowing PAs to perform fluoroscopy were passed in Connecticut and Hawaii earlier in 2009 and are currently under consideration in Illinois, California and Massachusetts.

What is the ASRT’s position?

The ASRT firmly believes that anyone performing medical imaging examinations must be educationally prepared and clinically competent. 

We know that an R.T. is the person best qualified to perform a medical imaging exam. But we also know that exams occasionally will be performed by non-R.T.s. When that occurs, we want to ensure the quality and safety of the exam.

How will you ensure that PAs have adequate education to perform fluoroscopy?

The ASRT is working with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the American Academy of Physician Assistants to develop an educational framework and competency assessment tool to help ensure that PAs who perform fluoroscopy are properly prepared. Under this educational framework, PAs would be required to complete specified hours of didactic and clinical education in fluoroscopy, and they also would have to complete a competency checklist signed by a radiologist.

If PAs try to get permission to perform fluoroscopy in my state, how will the ASRT respond?

The ASRT will work with state affiliate societies and state legislatures across the country to require that educational standards for PAs become part of state laws and regulations. ASRT will lobby for the inclusion of the fluoroscopy educational framework in state law.

If PAs are allowed to perform fluoroscopy, will they take jobs away from R.T.s?

Fluoroscopy will probably be only a small part of any PA’s job responsibilities. It’s unlikely that a PA will perform fluoroscopy full-time, because it’s not cost effective to hire a PA to do an R.T.’s job. Also, it’s important to remember that PAs already are allowed to perform fluoroscopy in nearly half of the states. This ability has not affected employment of R.T.s in those states.