The CRA Can Help with Succession Planning

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By Ron J. Barak, BS, CRA, FAHRA, MBA

November 2011–How many times have we been asked by our senior leadership team what we are doing for succession planning? My question for you is: “What are you doing for succession planning?” There are very few organizations that do succession planning well in the administrative suite. That attitude usually trickles down within the organization. It is important to ensure that our departments can run smoothly and efficiently when we are away. It is incumbent upon us, as imaging administrators, to put the best possible leaders in charge of our areas. We should be able to go about our daily business of meetings, meetings, and more meetings without worrying about daily operations. In order to do so, we need to have someone in charge who knows what they are doing, who can make decisions that we feel we can support, and who has our trust.

In my experience as an imaging leader, I have managed supervisors who run the range of being very happy where they are to being overly aggressive in their desire to be directors. It is important to be able to differentiate between these two and mentor the supervisor who is really the right choice to replace you when you leave. Our legacy should be that when we leave a department, the department continues to run smoothly during the transition to a new leader, and the new leader is someone that we have mentored and planned to replace us.

How can the CRA help? While I believe that leadership is an innate skill for many, there are several aspects to leadership that need to be either learned or honed. Our imaging supervisors are our future imaging directors and possibly VPs. By carefully mentoring, training, and cultivating their talent we can ensure that our departments are well run for years to come. That is where the CRA comes in.

In order to qualify to sit for the exam, the imaging leader needs to obtain anywhere from two to six experience points. One point is credited for each year of experience as an imaging administrator. Experience is defined as management, supervisory, or administrative experience in radiology or medical imaging with responsibility for activities in the following five domains:

  • Asset Resource Management
  • Fiscal Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Operations Management
  • Communication and Information Management

See for more information.

Motivating our supervisors to obtain this experience and to qualify to sit for the CRA exam is a perfect opportunity to both identify future imaging leaders and to begin succession planning within our departments. We can combine the preparation for the CRA exam with hands on management projects and assignments. This combination will not only help us to identify potential candidates for succession; it will also help these up and coming supervisors prepare for and qualify to sit for the CRA exam.

Ron J. Barak, BS, CRA, FAHRA, MBA, is the senior director of imaging services at Mercy Hospital in Miami, FL. He can be reached at

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