Virginia licenses radiologist assistants

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Radiologist assistants (RAs) in Virginia who have met the requirements of the state's board of medicine for licensure will be licensed as advanced-level radiologic technologists,  as of July 1.

The state's governor, Tim Kaine, has signed HB 1939 into law, making Virginia the 24th state to license, regulate or recognize the RA as a member of the radiology healthcare team.

While under the direct supervision of a licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathy specializing in the field of radiology, RAs will be 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, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

"ASRT believes that RAs will play an increasingly important role as radiologist extenders in a healthcare environment that is always trying to improve both productivity and efficiency, and ultimately increase the quality of healthcare for patients. This is especially important during a time when demands on the healthcare system are extreme and resources are limited," said Christine J. Lung, ASRT's vice president of government relations and public policy.

Three additional states are reviewing RA licensure bills during their 2009 legislative sessions, according to the society, and there are 10 educational programs across the country for RAs.