In May 2016 the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs introduced a regulatory proposal that would allow advanced practice registered nurses full practice authority without clinical supervision or mandatory collaboration with physicians. Full practice authority included the ability to, "Order, perform, supervise, and interpret laboratory and imaging studies." in VA facilities.
The ASRT strongly opposed this measure as only registered radiologic technologists should perform procedures that use ionizing radiation. The ASRT also asked its members and the entire radiologic technology community to submit comments to the federal government and voice their opposition to the VA's proposal to allow nonqualified personnel to perform medical imaging procedures.
After reviewing the public comments, the Federal Register announced on Dec. 14, 2016, that it reversed its decision and removed the "perform, supervise and interpret" clause in the rule and replaced it with language that will allow nurses to: "Order laboratory and imaging studies and integrate the results into clinical decision making." The VA included the following statement in the final rule: "It is not the VA's intent to replace our highly qualified radiologists or radiological technologists. VA is committed to providing high-quality health care for our nation's veterans and is proud of the outstanding work performed by radiologists in our system."
"We'd like to thank the VA for listening to our concerns and amending its proposal so veterans will continue to receive high quality care from educated and qualified radiologic technologists," said ASRT President Mike Latimer, M.S.R.S., R.T.(R). "As a retired Navy veteran, I'm incredibly proud of our membership and the radiologic technology community for taking the time to educate the VA about our role on the health care team and the technical skills and expertise we bring to the VA system to make sure veterans, and all patients, receive the best care possible."