What California Senate Bill 1237 Means for CT Scan Providers
Having recently read California’s Senate Bill 1237 (CASB 1237), a Block Imaging CT customer (for anonymity’s sake we’ll call him Dr. Phibes) made a last-minute change in his CT scanner purchasing decision. Dr. Phibes was originally considering the purchase of an older, moderately-priced used CT machine but, after reviewing this bill, opted for one of our models with dose recording technology. Making this change forced the good doctor into a later year model than he needed for the particular studies being done at his clinic, and at a greater cost. Why did Dr. Phibes think this was a practical idea? What did bill 1237 say that caused him to change his mind?
The Highlights of CASB 1237
First and foremost in this bill: If you have a CT, and it has the capability of documenting the radiation dose of the study, your site is required to activate and use that feature to record the dose of every CT study performed. Seems to make perfect sense – right?
Here’s another component: The bill would require the dose to be verified annually by a medical physicist, unless the facility is accredited (CASB 1237 chapter 521). This will require that the aforementioned dose records be maintained in good order as preparation for either physicist review or accreditation renewal.
This was approved by the Governor of CA, September 29, 2010, and filed with the Secretary of State the same day. The requirements and provisions of CASB1237 become effective next week on July 1st, 2012.
In addition, on July, 1st, 2013, one year after the effective date of CASB 1237, facilities furnishing CT X-Ray services will be required to be accredited by an organization that is approved by the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an accrediting agency approved by the Medical Board of California, or the State Department of Public Health.
This, in effect, cancels out the previous requirement that doses at all unaccredited CT facilities be verified annually by a physicist by mandating that all CT providers enter into the “accredited” category.
Once a CT provider is accredited, radiation dose records from CT studies will be provided to these accrediting agencies either within the patient’s radiology report or by attaching the protocol page of each study to the radiology report.
Once again, the requirements mentioned above are only applicable to CT scanner users that have dose recording capabilities: at least through 2013. But how long will it be before dose recording is a mandatory feature on all CTs being operated in the state of California? How long before more states begin adopting similar legislation?
If we had to venture a guess, the end game here seems to be dose reporting and accreditation for all CT providers in California. It would seem that our customer, Dr. Phibes, ventured the same guess when he elected to spend more money on his CT purchase. That is, he asked himself, “Why buy a cheaper CT now only to be told in a few years that I am required to buy a more expensive CT anyway?”
Perhaps you agree with us and our doctor friend. Maybe you don’t. But either way, if you intend to operate a CT in California over the next two years, you have just under one business week to make sure all your doctors and technicians are aware of CASB 1237 and how it will affect their day-to-day work.
If you're interested in the purchase of a CT scanner with dose recording technology, Block Imaging can help.
Meet the authors: Darrin Dodge and Jordan Batterbee
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