CT vendors to install rad dose safeguards; ACR calls for mandatory accreditation

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In advance of today’s House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on medical radiation, the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA) yesterday announced CT manufacturers will begin installing new radiation dose safeguards on scanners starting this year. The American College of Radiology (ACR) yesterday also announced that at today’s hearing it will call for the mandatory accreditation of all advanced imaging and radiation oncology providers.

MITA said that the radiation dose check feature will provide alerts to technologists when recommended radiation dose levels are exceeded. The alerts are “designed to provide a clear indication to healthcare providers when radiation dose adjustments made for a patient’s exam would result in delivering a dose higher than the facility’s pre-determined dose threshold for routine use,” according to MITA.

CT manufacturers are also committed to the implementation of “an additional safeguard that will allow hospitals and imaging facilities to set maximum radiation dose limits that would prevent CT scanning at higher, potentially dangerous radiation levels," MITA said. "This feature is designed to prevent the use of hazardous levels of radiation that could lead to burns, hair loss or other injuries.”

According to Dave Fisher, executive director of MITA, the CT manufacturers are already working on these radiation dose safeguards and will be able to include them on new CT releases and in software upgrades to older CT scanners.

Fisher will be one of a dozen witnesses testifying at today's hearing.

ACR to call for mandatory Accreditation

E. Stephen Amis, MD, and chair of the ACR Task Force on Radiation Dose in Medicine will also testify today. According to the ACR, Amis will call for the mandatory accreditation of all advanced imaging and radiation oncology providers, regardless of the setting.

In a release yesterday, the ACR pointed out that The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will require accreditation of all facilitates that bill for advanced imaging (MRI, CT, PET and nuclear medicine exams) under part B of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, effective Jan. 1, 2012. But, according to the ACR, this requirement does not apply to hospital providers of these services and does not include radiation oncology.

The ACR also said Amis will express ACR’s support for HR 3652, the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Act. This bill sets minimum federal standards for training and credentialing of radiation therapists, technicians, and other personnel who perform or plan the technical component of either medical imaging examinations or radiation therapy procedures.