Great Success at AHRA’s First Northern Midwest Regional Meeting

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By Bonni Standley, CRA

March 2010 — The first annual AHRA Northern Midwest regional meeting in February 2010 was outstanding and exceeded expectations. There were 110 registered attendees, with 76 attending the 13 hour event. Twenty-eight radiology posters were on display (see sidebar below). The all day meeting was held at the Rochester Marriott in Rochester, MN, with 230 radiologic technologists down the hall for their annual education symposium. 

There was radiology administrative representation from six states. This education event allowed for networking with colleagues on a local level. Networking was in full swing while enjoying the food that was beautiful and delicious.  There was a full breakfast; artesian sandwiches and sides; a local favorite, Chicago popcorn from Karol’s Korn; and a large seafood buffet with beverages into the evening.

Todd Minnigh from Carestream Health (Kodak) sponsored the event, along with the Mayo Clinic. Todd was very instrumental in the $1 million Kodak award that started the CRA program. The DRX mobile (DR retrofit for an AMX portable) was on display, and the DRX-1 unit (retrofit for a CR to DR room conversion) was viewed during the Mayo tour on Gonda 14. Chuck Spear, Linda Magnus, and Tony Kubat also attended from Carestream Health. 

The presentations included:

  • Portable Digital X-Ray presented by Carestream’s Todd Minnigh
  • Optimizing Patient Workflow and Efficiency presented by Carol Mount   
  • Can Imaging dashboards Lead to Practice Standards and Expense Control? presented by Jeff Palmucci 
  • Creating Dialogue presented by Jan Lieder   
  • Operational Metrics in Digital X-Ray presented by Carestream’s Todd Minnigh   
  • Effective Communication and Planning During Times of Organizational Downsizing presented by Kathy Williams   
  • Safe and Effective Care presented by Dave Jasperson

The afternoon tour of Mayo started in the Gonda lobby and trekked through the Mayo and Gonda buildings. Unique imaging features of Mayo were highlighted for the group, such as the dual tubes in the MSK area. There is a foot tube hidden in the wall that allows for standing feet and ankles so the patients do not have to utilize the typical large step for any standing work. This allows for less patient falls, better patient safety, tech efficiency, better tech ergonomics, and prolonged tube life. Other unique features were noted, for example, the colored paint lines on the CT floor for staff awareness of dose. This incorporates the overall comfort and healing ambiance with the unique and special displays of Mayo like the water features, art, and pianos throughout the buildings. The group was only able to view a portion of the 280 pieces of imaging equipment on campus. 

The thoracic area was toured, which explained how Mayo images over 500 chests in a morning. As the group toured, it was evident how 1 million exams could easily be done at the Mayo Rochester system annually, with 285,000 square feet in imaging. The Rochester Mayo has 164 radiologists for a total of 1200 radiology FTE.

There was quite a bit of buzz about the new CRA exam. The AHRA books and well thought out content was talked about as an administrator/supervisor’s “must have” set of books for the department. 

The other buzz during the networking sessions was about the reasons why AHRA membership is so important. The recent win from the collaboration of AHRA, RBMA, ACR, and MGMA with the proposed Date of Service and Place of Service from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was discussed. If this had gone through, it would have had major negative impact on our radiology practices nationally. The collaboration was able to convince CMS this was not the right thing to do, as well as the actual negative impact this would have on radiology and healthcare in general.

Prizes given throughout the event included an iPod 9GB Nano touch, courtesy of Carestream; AHRA’s Professional Development textbook series (including Asset Management in Radiology, Communication & Information Management in Radiology, Human Resource Management in Radiology, and Financial Management in Radiology); two recently released Mayo diet books; a Mayo leather padfolio; and Mayo lunch bag and Mayo coffee mug. Attendees also received red bags stuffed with goodies.

A special thank you for the team that helped organize this first annual event: Michelle Nordland, Sue Rysted, Kathy Williams, Sue Ramthun, Forrest Hayden, Bonni Standley, Sue Hamilton, Todd Minnigh, and Ed Cronin.

Attendees were given the email contact information for continued collaboration throughout the year. The PowerPoint presentations and handouts will be available on the AHRA Web site

Plans for next year’s event are already underway! 

Bonni Standley, CRA is director of radiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  She is a director of the 2009-2010 AHRA Board of Directors.  She can be reached at


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