X-ray regulation, inspections a patchwork

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The Investigative Reporting Workshop’s Caroline Stetler explains what she calls “the patchwork regulation of technicians who perform imaging exams,” and the risks that come with it.

In short, there’s no national standard for training or performance of such technicians, 12 states don’t have any requirements at all, and standards in the other 38 vary wildly. As the medical imaging industry continues to flourish, and Americans’ exposure to radiation increases, regulations have failed to keep pace. Likewise, imaging equipment has proliferated, but inspection rules have not. Only mammography machines are subject to federally mandated annual inspections, though the Joint Commission and other organizations will begin accrediting imaging centers in 2012.

The story package also includes an excellent, interactive state-by-state breakdown of licensing numbers and variations, as well as a number of related videos.

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One thought on “X-ray regulation, inspections a patchwork

  1. Elaine Schattner, M.D.

    Journalists have had an essential role in exposing problems with x-ray imaging, especially in the past year. I do wish, though, that more writers and readers were aware of the point you mention about mammography – that it stands out among radiology tests by progressive regulation since 1992 (see FDA: http://bit.ly/aRW4i7).

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