A St. Joseph lawmaker is working with colleagues this year toward initiating state licensing for health care workers in the radiology field.
House Rep. Galen Higdon, R-St. Joseph, has filed legislation that would create the Missouri Patient Safety in Radiologic Imaging and Radiation Therapy Act.
The proposal has failed to gain much traction in past legislative sessions, with Higdon one of several lawmakers carrying the measure for the Missouri Society of Radiologic Technologists.
The act would require certification by the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts for anyone charged with using radioactive substances or equipment for imaging or therapy. Nuclear medicine technologists and radiologist assistants would be among those covered by the standards. The bill defines certain application requirements for different areas of medical practice.
If passed, Higdon’s proposal also would create an advisory commission to assist and advise the state board in matters related to radiologic imaging and radiation therapy.
Diane Hutton, who serves as the society’s legislative activities chairwoman, said a need for proper training and education in the field supports the idea. The organization said anyone can administer the procedures in the state and thereby jeopardize a patient’s health through unwarranted doses of radiation.
“Radiation safety (and) patient safety are the key parts,” Hutton said.
She said Missouri is one of five states without a minimal set of radiology standards. National certification, by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, is in place at Mosaic Life Care.
A hearing on Higdon’s bill had been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but it was canceled.
“Basically, my intent is to bring last year’s (legislation) into a higher level of protection for the patient, since patient safety is the most important part of it,” he said.
The society admitted the state has degree programs for radiologic technologists. An advocacy day was held at the Capitol on Feb. 8, Hutton said, with roughly half of those attending from Northwest Missouri.
The House also will be considering a second bill identical to Higdon’s, while a Senate committee took testimony on its own version at a Monday hearing.