February 03, 2017

States Seeking to Expand Imaging Scope of Practice

In Arizona, registered nurse practitioners could be allowed to order and interpret radiography. In Indiana, the state legislature could give chiropractors the opportunity to order and interpret X-rays of any organ in addition to their current ability to perform X-rays of the spine and lower extremity. And in North Dakota, proposed legislation would allow certified registered nurse anesthetists to supervise medical imaging and radiation therapy.

These are a few examples of pending legislation that would chip away at the rights and prerogatives of diagnostic radiologists and radiation oncologists to perform and interpret medical imaging.

Arizona State Board of Nursing has recommended requesting a formal attorney general opinion on whether the Arizona Administrative Code Rule 4-19-508(B)(3) authorizes a registered nurse practitioner to order and interpret radiographic and other diagnostic tests.

Indiana SB 437 seeks to remove a prohibition on chiropractors taking x-rays of any organ other than the vertebral column and extremities. The bill would allow chiropractors to order advanced diagnostic imaging and to order, perform, and interpret laboratory, radiological, electrodiagnostic or any other diagnostic studies to the extent the chiropractor was taught in a chiropractic college or as approved in rules of the board.

North Dakota
SB 2327/HB 1371 would expand the definition of "licensed practitioner" to include certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). A small change in the definition would have a large impact on the supervision arrangements in medical imaging. This change would effectively allow CRNAs to supervise medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures because the existing statute stipulates that “an individual holding a license under this chapter may perform medical imaging or radiation therapy procedures on humans for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes only by written, facsimile, electronic, or verbal prescription of an individual authorized by this state to prescribe medical imaging or radiation therapy procedures and under the supervision of a licensed practitioner.”

Check out this week’s Statescape to examine other bills that would modifiy scope of practice privileges for diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy.