VA proposal puts veterans at risk for medical radiation errors
July 11, 2016
By Sal Martino, CEO of ASRT
A proposal by the Department of Veterans Affairs intended to help our nation’s veterans receive more timely health care could instead lead to a lower standard of care and ultimately put them at risk. The proposed rule would give full practice authority to advanced practice registered nurses, which includes allowing them to perform medical imaging procedures that use ionizing radiation.
This proposal is disturbing and could lead to serious consequences for veterans. Ionizing radiation can be extremely dangerous if administered incorrectly. Registered radiologic technologists have the education, skills and expertise to perform high quality medical imaging procedures, while keeping radiation dose as low as possible. Yet, the VA’s proposal would give certified nurse practitioners, a group without necessary education in radiation protection, full practice authority to “order, perform, supervise, and interpret laboratory and imaging studies.” It is a dangerous precedent to allow personnel who have not undergone rigorous training in radiation safety, radiation physics and patient positioning to assume medical imaging responsibilities.