The California legislature has introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 352, which would allow a radiologist assistant (RA) to perform medical imaging services under the direct supervision of a supervising radiologist.
Introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Mike Eng, AB 352 would enact the Radiologist Assistant Practice Act, which would require the licensure and regulation of radiologist assistants by the Radiologist Assistant Committee of the Medical Board of California. AB 352 also allows for individuals certified by the Certification Board of Radiology Practitioner Assistants to be licensed as radiologist assistants.
“The workload for radiologists has been increasing more and more, and creating this new position of a radiologist assistant will allow a licensed, educated and trained professional to perform some of the functions of a radiologist,” said Assemblyman Eng. “This will relieve radiologists of some of their workload so they can concentrate on interpreting imaging test results and making diagnoses, thereby increasing the quality of care for patients throughout California.”
If the bill passes, California will become the 29th state to add advanced practice medical imaging professionals among its licensed or recognized professions.
A radiologist assistant is an advanced-level radiologic technologist who extends the capacity of the radiologist in the diagnostic imaging environment, explained the Albuquerque, N.M.-based American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), which supported the bill. RAs are radiologist extenders who have completed an advanced medical imaging academic program encompassing a nationally recognized curriculum and a radiologist-directed clinical preceptorship and has obtained certification by the ASRT.