Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy

June 30, 2003

Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy  

Quality medical imaging examinations. Accurate radiation therapy procedures. Competent, compassionate patient care provided by educated professionals.

These principles are the foundation of the newly formed Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy. Because we are confident that your organization shares these principles, we would like to invite you to become a charter member of the Alliance.

This coalition of groups representing medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals is dedicated to the provision of safe, high quality radiologic care. The Alliance provides its members with a forum to identify, investigate and take action on the issues that affect the professionals they represent. Each member organization is strengthened through the power of the Alliance's unified action.

Please take a few moments to review the enclosed Statement of Purpose, Position Statement and Background Paper on the Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy. If you support our principles and goals, we want you on board. And even if you are not interested in becoming a charter member of the Alliance, we would appreciate your comments and ideas.

The Alliance is planning its first meeting in conjunction with the 1998 RSNA meeting in Chicago. We hope you can join us. If you have any questions, please contact one of us.

Sincerely,

Frances E. Apple, R.T., FASRT
President, ASRT
15000 Central Avenue, SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123-3917
Lynne Roy, CNMT, FSNMTS
President, SNM-TS
1850 Samuel Morse Drive
Reston, VA 20190-5316

Statement of Purpose

The Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy is a coalition of health care organizations dedicated to the provision of safe, high quality radiologic care. We believe the personnel who perform medical imaging examinations and deliver radiation therapy treatments should be required to demonstrate competence in their area of practice. Competency can be demonstrated through graduation from an accreditated educational program, certification by a national examining organization or licensure by the state.

The disciplines and specialties represented by the Alliance include radiography, nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, sonography, mammography, radiation therapy and radiation dosimetry. In addition, we represent managers, educators and researchers in the radiologic sciences.

The Alliance's goals are to:

  • Ensure the quality of patient care by pursuing standards for the certification and education of medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals.
  • Educate patients about medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures and the personnel who perform them.
  • Encourage lawmakers at the state and federal level to recognize the vital role that qualified personnel have in the safe, accurate delivery of radiologic procedures and the provision of quality patient care.
One method of achieving these goals is through the establishment of federal minimum standards for personnel who perform medical imaging examinations and radiation therapy procedures. The Alliance will work with lawmakers at the state and federal level to achieve this goal. We also will assist the Department of Health and Human Services in developing regulations and standards that ensure patient safety, personnel competency and exam quality.

American Society of Radiologic Technologists Society of Nuclear Medicine- Technologist Section September 1998

Position on Licensure

The Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy supports the establishment of minimum standards by the federal government for personnel who perform medical imaging exams and deliver radiation therapy treatments. By ensuring a minimum level of education, knowledge and skill for radiologic personnel, federal minimum standards will:

  • Ensure that quality information is presented for diagnosis and that quality radiation therapy treatments are delivered, leading to accurate diagnosis, treatment and cure.
  • Reduce health care costs by lowering the number of examinations that must be repeated due to improper positioning or poor technique. Repeated radiologic examinations cost the U.S. health care system million of dollars annually.
  • Improve the safety of radiologic procedures. Administered properly, radiation is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of disease. Bust most radiologic procedures also carry a potential health risk, and radiation can be harmful if misadministered.
  • Offer a method for radiologic technologists to demonstrate continued competency in their profession.
  • Reflect the professional nature of radiologic technologists.
  • Demonstrate the radiologic technologist's ability to provide the highest level of patient care.
Background

In 1981, Congress passed the Consumer-Patient Radiation Health and Safety Act, providing the states with standards for the certification and education of radiologic personnel and a model statute for licensure. Compliance with the Act, however, was made voluntary. As a result, only 33 states have implemented licensure laws regulating radiologic technologists and radiation therapists, and only 21 states license nuclear medicine technologists. In the remaining 17 states and the District of Columbia, tens of thousands of individuals with limited training and no credentials are allowed to provide medical imaging and radiation therapy care. Uncertified, inadequately educated workers represent a risk to patients and compromise the quality of radiologic care.

To ensure patient safety and exam quality, in May 1998 the American Society of Radiologic Technologists attempted to introduce federal legislation that would have required states to comply with the Consumer-Patient Radiation Health and Safety Act or risk losing federal grants and Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Also supporting this legislative effort were the Society of Nuclear Medicine-Technologists Section, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, the Association of Vascular and Interventional Radiographers, the Society for Radiation Oncology Administrators, Help Hospitalized Veterans, Help Disabled War Veterans and the Cancer Research Foundation of America.

Although the proposed legislation had strong backing, it was not introduced in Congress during the spring of 1998. In preparation for its introduction in the fall of 1998, the legislation's supporters are organizing a strategic campaign to raise awareness about the importance of personnel qualifications and competency to the performance of medical imaging examinations and radiation therapy procedures.

The Role of the Alliance

Recognizing that the future success in the legislative arena will depend upon collaboration with other organizations dedicated to quality radiologic care, in July 1998 the ASRT and the Society of Nuclear Medicine-Technologist Section founded the Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy. Membership in the Alliance is open to any organization in medical imaging or radiation therapy that shares the goal of ensuring quality patient care through the establishment of minimum personnel criteria.

The Alliance provides professional associations in the radiologic sciences with a forum to identify and address issues of common interest. More importantly, creation of the Alliance sends a message to the public and to lawmakers that the professional associations representing medical imaging and radiation therapy personnel are untied and are ready to act on the beliefs they value.

Future Alliance Action

The Alliance will continue to pursue the establishment of federal minimum standards for radiologic personnel. During the fall of 1998, it plans to introduce a bill in Congress that would add an enforcement mechanism to the Consumer-Patient Radiation Health and Safety Act of 1981. In addition, the Alliance will work at the state level to urge local legislators to draft licensure laws that adopt the standards provided by the federal government.

To Join the Alliance

Medical Imaging and radiation therapy associations must speak with a united voice if our legislative proposals are to succeed. The ASRT and the Society of Nuclear Medicine-Technologist Section encourage other organizations to become active participants in the Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy, thus helping ensure that American patients receive the high level of care they deserve when they visit the radiology department.

Organizations interested in joining the Alliance and working to improve the quality and safety of medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures may call DuVonne Campbell at the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, 1-800-444-2778, Ext. 248.

Founding members:

American Society of Radiologic Technologists
Society of Nuclear Medicine

Organizations invited to join as charter members:

American Association of Medical Dosimetrists
American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
Association of Vascular and Interventional Radiographers
Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology
Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board
Society for Magnetic Resonance Technology
Society for Radiation Oncology Administrators

If you would like to suggest other organizations for this list, please contact DuVonne Campbell at the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, 1-800-444-2778, Ext. 248.