Legislators consider whether to require increased training for radiological procedures
Representative Rodney Wakeman (R – Saginaw) introduced House Bill 5116 to the House Health Policy Committee last week. The bill would require providers who operate radiologic machinery like X-rays to undergo additional training before doing so. The committee heard testimony from stakeholders but has not yet voted to advance the bill out of committee.
“I don’t know about you, but I am very uncomfortable with the thought of anyone working on me with any of these machines and not being properly trained,” testified Wakeman. “That is the basic principle of my bill.”
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Wakeman clarified that the bill doesn’t require any additional licensing, but rather requires training and certification before operation of radiological machinery. The training requirement would apply to any health professional who operates such machinery for diagnostic, interventional, or therapeutic purposes. There are currently no such additional training requirements in the state.
Proponents, like the Michigan Society of Radiation Technologists, say this additional training requirement will help ensure patient safety. Opponents, like the Michigan Association of Chiropractors, argue the bill would force certain types of practices to pay more money for the training without resulting in any benefit to the patient.
“Despite the benefits of using advancing radiologic technology, the misuse, overuse, or inappropriate handling can be detrimental to both the patient and imaging technologist,” said Melissa Snody from the Central Chapter of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging during her testimony in support.
“A proper image leads to a proper diagnosis. An improper image or procedure can be catastrophic,” she said. “The legislation would ensure that all patients in the state of Michigan would receive safe imaging procedures performed by educated, certified professionals.”
Carl Alden, Insurance and Government Relations Director for the Michigan Association of Chiropractors, said although advanced training for radiologic services has shown benefit for patients in certain professions, it would have no such impact on chiropractic offices. Chiropractic offices would be burdened with the cost of providing the training, which would be translated to patient costs in some manner, he argued. He also said the additional regulation would compound the already existing state and federal regulations providers have to comply with, as well as the “red tape” of insurance company regulations.
“Unreimbursed mandates will create disincentives in hiring staff, make it harder to recruit chiropractic physicians to practice in Michigan, and possibly even decrease the amount of time a doctor can actually spend caring for patients,” said Alden.