Utah Moves to License Radiologist Assistants

March 25, 2011

The national march toward regulating radiology extenders continues with Utah becoming the 29th state to regulate, license, or recognize radiologist assistants (RA) as part of the team.

The national march toward regulating radiology extenders continues with Utah becoming the 29th state to regulate, license, or recognize radiologist assistants (RA) as part of the team.

Under the Utah law, House Bill 238, signed March 18, RAs will be licensed and will need to meet continuing education requirements. The bill also defined the radiology extenders’ scope of practice, and added one licensed radiologist assistant to the state’s Radiologic Technologist Licensing Board. It also allows for those certified by the Certification Board of Radiology Practitioner Assistants to be licensed as an RA.

Under the Utah law, radiologist assistants are able to:

• perform radiologic procedures, while indirectly supervised by a radiologist,
• administer contrast agents or other medications prescribed by the supervising radiologist,
• make observations and communicate those with the supervising radiologist, and evaluate image quality,
• and evaluate the psychological responsiveness of patients undergoing these radiologic procedures.

Radiologist assistants currently must complete an advanced medical imaging academic program with a nationally recognized curriculum, and have also completed a clinical preceptorship directed by a radiologist. In addition to the academic program, RAs are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

“More than half the states in the country now recognize RAs as midlevel providers and the ASRT believes that as radiologist extenders, RAs will improve the quality of health care for patients,” James Temme, MPA, RT(R)(QM), FASRT, president of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, said in a statement.

Meanwhile in Texas, there’s a similar push for licensure and regulation. Legislators are considering a bill that would require an imaging facility be accredited and the technician registered. The ASRT has been lobbying for the establishment of minimum federal standards for those performing imaging exams.

While Utah recognizes these extenders as part of the healthcare team, they still may not be able to bill Medicare and Medicaid for their services for certain hospital and outpatient procedures.