Virginia mulls licensing radiologist assistants

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Two bills are currently being ushered through the Virginia State Congress that could potentially allow radiologist assistants (RAs) to become licensed professionals in the state.

One bill, HB 1939, that would pave the way for the licensure of RAs in the state of Virginia, was unanimously passed by its House of Delegates in a 96 to zero vote on Jan. 26. An identical bill, SB 968, has been assigned to the Senate’s Education and Health Committee’s Subcommittee on Health Licensing. Rep. Christopher K. Peace introduced the House bill and Sen. Harry B. Blevins introduced the Senate bill.

Both bills provide for the licensure of RAs as individuals who have met the requirements of the Virginia Board of Medicine for licensure as advanced-level radiologic technologists.

While under the direct supervision of a licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathy specializing in the field of radiology, RAs are allowed to:

  • Assess and evaluate the physiological and psychological responsiveness of patients undergoing radiologic procedures;
  • Evaluate image quality, make initial observations and communicate observations to the supervising radiologist;
  • Administer contrast media or other medications prescribed by the supervising radiologist; and
  • Perform or assist the supervising radiologist who is performing any other procedures consistent with the guidelines adopted by the American College of Radiology (ACR), the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

“We are greatly encouraged by the passage of the licensure bill in the House and look forward to the day when radiologist assistants can be licensed in the state of Virginia,” said Christine J. Lung, ASRT’s vice president of government affairs. “We believe that RAs will play an increasingly important role as radiologist extenders. Their addition to the radiology team will help improve both productivity and efficiency and ultimately increase the quality of health care for patients. This is especially important during a time when demands on the healthcare system are extreme and resources are limited.”