A Push for Medical Imaging Regulations, Accreditation

March 1, 2011

The Texas legislature is considering a bill aimed at reining in costs of diagnostic imaging and ensuring patient safety. Among the provisions of HB 1809 is a requirement that an imaging facility be accredited and the technician registered.

The Texas legislature is considering a bill aimed at reining in costs of diagnostic imaging and ensuring patient safety. Among the provisions of HB 1809 is a requirement that an imaging facility be accredited and the technician registered.

“Patients’ lives and their well-being depend on the skill and expertise of the imaging technologist, and appropriate and safe operation of imaging equipment,” according to the Coalition for Ethical Imaging, which is lobbying for the passage of this legislation.

Accreditation in Texas is voluntary, according to CEI, which wants to ensure CT, MRI, and PET services are provided by licensed professionals.

The issue of imaging technologist regulation was also raised in a recent New York Times article about inappropriate whole-body X-rays being performed on babies. According to the Times: “With technologists in many states lightly regulated, or not at all, their own professional group is calling for greater oversight and standards. For 12 years, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists has lobbied Congress to pass a bill that would establish minimum educational and certification requirements, not only for technologists, but also for medical physicists and people in 10 other occupations in medical imaging and radiation therapy.”

The legislation, known as the CARE bill, has continuing education requirements that supports say could prevent over-radiation and other errors.

The American Society of Radiologic Technicians is one of many groups advocating for the establishment of minimum federal standards for those performing imaging exams. According to the group, the standards will:
• Ensure that quality information is presented for diagnosis and treatment
• Reduce costs by lowering the number of repeated exams
• Improve safety of procedures by ensureing they are administered properly

What do you think? Should there be more federal or state oversight of imaging technologists through regulation and accreditation? What else can be done?