NEWS FLASH! North Dakota, Oregon, and New Mexico are the First Three States Requiring Sonographers to be Registered by an Organization!

NEWS FLASH !

North Dakota, Oregon, and New Mexico are the First Three Statesregistered sonographers Requiring Sonographers to be Registered by an Organization!

April 2, 2015

North Dakota has now become the 3rd State in the country (the two others being Oregon and New Mexico) to pass a law requiring Sonographers to be licensed by the state. Credentialing through nationally recognized agencies such as the ARDMS and CCI will be acceptable forms of documentation.

For the complete bill, see:
http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/64-2015/documents/15-8161-01000.pdf?20150128135731

Prepare for the registry board exams with Registry Reviews by Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute’s Registry Reviews Week!

Confidence. Competence. Proven Results.

 

How an emphasis on cost effective medical practice and patient safety issues will influence the future of point of care ultrasound.

by: James Mateer MD RDMS

It is interesting to see how things go in cycles…  In the 80’s ACEP offered a curriculum entitled: “Cost containment in Emergency Medicine”.  This was a program used to train EM physicians and residents in the appropriate use of testing and provide the most efficient use of resources.  The program was developed during an economic downturn (remember mortgage rates of 18%?).

Intro to Emergency Medicine - Abdominal Scan
Emergency Ultrasound at Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute

Today we are in the midst of another economic downturn and there are increasing pressures to reduce the cost of healthcare.  ACEP has recently developed a survey for members to help identify areas where Emergency Medicine can reduce the cost of care without sacrificing quality.

Some interesting health care statistics for the US include:

  • We use 15% of our GNP for healthcare vs. 8.6% average for other countries.
  • We do >10 times as many CT/MR studies per capita than other industrialized nations (if you have not looked recently, these are very expensive tests).
  • Despite this, USA ranks lower than many other countries in quality of health indicators.

At the same time, there has been an increased interest in patient safety issues.  There are many reports concerning the increasing levels of medical radiation that we are exposing patients to, and the potential long-term effects of these exposures.  New Ultrasound – First guidelines have been developed to encourage clinicians to avoid unnecessary radiation whenever appropriate.

A shift is occurring in Medicine – away from the current fee for service model and towards the pay for performance and cost containment models.  Since much of the cost of care is dictated by the cost of the tests we order, clinicians who utilize clinical judgment supplemented by low cost testing options will have the greatest success in reducing the overall costs of healthcare, while retaining reasonable compensation for their services.

It is clear that point of care ultrasound will have an essential role in reducing costs while providing quality and safety for patient care.

Side Note

One of the goals for this website is to present ultrasound topics with a focus on how the specific uses save time, increase safety and/or improve the cost effective practice of medicine.  We encourage participants attending ultrasound training seminars to respond with their experience and/or ideas on the same topic.  We anticipate continued improvements in the utilization of POC US through this free exchange from clinicians who are actively exploring the most effective uses for this technology (James Mateer MD RDMS).

Ultrasound Lab Accreditation 101

By: Trisha Reo, RVT, RDMS

Achieving and maintaining accreditation status

Accredited Lab for SonographyAs the Technical Director of Vascular Ultrasound Services at my facility, I have personally experienced the tedious processes of achieving and maintaining accreditation status. Achieving vascular lab accreditation status in ultrasound requires compliance with requirements regarding ultrasound image quality and consistency, exam protocols, quality assurance and continuing medical education. In my professional opinion, ultrasound lab accreditation is a necessary evil that ensures quality diagnostic care and improves patient outcomes. Professional societies, such as the SDMS, agree that accreditation is a staple of a quality diagnostic ultrasound lab (here is the link to an excellent article on accreditation). Although this process can be overwhelming if you are new to it, the ultrasound resources you need to be successful are readily available to you. Read on for some hints and helpful suggestions to get you better prepared.

Five Steps to a Successful Accreditation Application:

  1. Download or request a copy of the application requirements (visit AIUM, ACR, or Intersocietal ). This is your road map. Review it, learn it, know it, and follow it! If you do each step in this application, you are on the road to success!
  2. Download and implement the suggested professional ultrasound exam guidelines from the website of the organization you are applying for accreditation with. If you have any trouble locating these guidelines, call the organization and ask for assistance in obtaining these. And remember, these are suggested ultrasound protocols! You do not have to follow them verbatim but your protocol should at least include the listed ultrasound images.
  3. Designate a physician to be your lab’s Medical Director and involve them. It is important to seek and consider their professional opinion throughout this process!
  4. Communicate the ultrasound guidelines, CME requirements and expectations during this process to your technical staff. This will alleviate any confusion they may have about the changes the department is making. Have multiple CME resources available to them to encourage compliance. Visit Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute for access to multiple online and textbook CME resources.
  5. Submit an application that reflects only your best work and be sure it is organized. Remember, the application you submit will represent your facility and department, so make sure your application highlights your labs strengths and abilities!

Performing a Venous Imaging scanFollow the above steps and you are on your way to achieving ultrasound lab accreditation! There is nothing easy about this process but, it is well worth the hard work you will put into it.

Don’t be afraid to call or email the organization you are seeking accreditation from if you have any questions or find yourself lost during the process. They are there to help you in any way they can.

Good luck and happy scanning!

Certifications, Reimbursement and Lab Accreditation Updates

EchocardiographyEver changing certification, lab accreditation and reimbursement standards for echocardiography and vascular ultrasound can be confusing and hard to keep up with. To help out we’ve bundled it up, listed useful links to the right resources and summarized the key points to help answer all those burning questions.


Recertification:

Did you know; if you currently hold a certification from the ARDMS (American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers) you will not be required to begin taking the recertification exam until 2019 and will not have to pass it until 2022?

This includes all RDMS, RVT and RDCS registered Technologists. For all new certifications earned after January 1, 2012, you will have to take your recertification exams starting 10 years after you have acquired your credential.
* for more information regarding recertification and credentialing, please visit www.ardms.org


Reimbursements:

Did you know; reimbursement requirements for Medicare varies from state to state?

Several states require either lab accreditation and/or sonographer/physician credentialing for reimbursement. This applies to echocardiography and non-invasive vascular studies.

Full policy details and individual state reimbursement directive can be found on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) website.

To find a payment policy, go to www.cms.gov/mcd/overview.asp and follow these instructions:

  1. Click on Advanced Search
  2. Under Search by Document Type, check Local Coverage Documents
  3. Under What documents types do you want to search for? Check All Policies (LCD) and then Final Policies
  4. Select Geographic Area (State) AND/OR Contractor Criteria
  5. Type the testing area you are searching for (i.e., noninvasive vascular) or the LCD ID # into Enter Keyword(s) box and choose Title
  6. Click Search by Type box
  7. A page will appear asking you to accept the Terms & Conditions, Click Agree
  8. A new page will open with your search results

Additional information on reimbursement for individual states can found on the ICAVL website for vascular reimbursement and the ICAEL website for echocardiography.


Lab Accreditation:

Did you know; by 2017 ICAVL (Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories) requires all technical staff to be registered to comply with lab accreditation?

Appropriate credentialing: RVT (Registered Vascular Technologist) from the ARDMS, RVS (Registered Vascular Specialist) from CCI or RT (VS) (Registered Technologist Vascular Sonography) from the ARRT.

Additional information on credentialing can be found at www.ardms.org, www.cci-online.org , or www.arrt.org

Did you know; that ICAEL (Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories) is changing their physician requirements?

All physicians who do not have level 2 or 3 echocardiography training must pass the NBE (National Board of Echocardiography) by 2015 to comply with ICAEL accreditation. The purpose of the NBE is to establish the domain of the practice of echocardiography for the purpose of certification, assess the level of knowledge demonstrated by a licensed physician practitioner of echocardiography in a valid manner, enhance the quality of echocardiography and individual professional growth in echocardiography, formally recognize individuals who satisfy the requirements set by the NBE, and serve the public by encouraging quality patient care in the practice of echocardiography.

For more information on the NBE please visit www.echoboards.org

Training Level

Cumulative Duration
of Training

Minimum Number of
Examinations Performed

Minimum Number of
Examinations Interpreted

Level 1

3 months

75

150

Level 2

6 months

150 (75 additional)

300 (150 additional)

Level 3

12 months

300 (150 additional)

750 (450 additional)

Additional information on reimbursement for individual states can be found on the ICAVL website for vascular reimbursement and the ICAEL website for echocardiography.

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