By Tim Ludwig, CRA, FAHRA
January 2012—Happy New Year once again from The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). As a reminder, the JRCERT promotes excellence in education and enhances the quality and safety of patient care through the accreditation of educational programs. The JRCERT is the only agency recognized by the United States Department of Education for the accreditation of traditional and distance delivery educational programs in radiography, radiation therapy, magnetic resonance, and medical dosimetry. Programs accredited by the JRCERT must demonstrate that they are in substantial compliance with the relevant JRCERT accreditation standards.
AHRA nominates a member to serve on the JRCERT’s board of directors and, for the past five years, I have been that person. As a board member, I am responsible for reviewing all programs that are being considered for accreditation. The JRCERT board of directors are the only ones who can issue an accreditation decision. During the October 2011 board meeting, the board took accreditation action on 57 programs. In addition, there were interim reports on 31 programs in which the directors took action.
Some interesting statistics of the JRCERT include the number and types of programs that have been awarded accreditation. As of December 2011 there are: 641 radiography programs accredited by the JRCERT, 81 radiation therapy programs, 16 medical dosimetry, and 4 magnetic resonance programs. These programs are also categorized by type of institution, such as four year college/university, community college, technical college, hospital based, military/government, proprietary, or consortium. The degree awarded also varies from certificate, associate degree, baccalaureate, to master degree. I invite you to visit the JRCERT website to review the Annual Report.
One of the great benefits of programmatic accreditation from the JRCERT is that educational programs are evaluated at every level by people who have experience in the radiologic sciences. The CEO of the JRCERT, the accreditation specialists in the office, JRCERT site visitors, and the majority of the board of directors carry the ARRT distinction proudly. In fact, only the public member and the physician (radiologist or radiation oncologist) on the board, two members out of eight, are not ARRT certified.
In addition to accreditation action, the board of directors also handles general business duties during a board meeting. At the October meeting, the board adopted the final draft of the Limited X-Ray Machine Operator (LXMO) Standards with an implementation date of January 1, 2012. The LXMO standards will ensure that those programs that obtain JRCERT accreditation must meet high standards.
The JRCERT is also proud to announce that the new electronic accreditation system should go live around the first of March. This has been a much anticipated event and a project that has taken much time to build. The addition of this system should make it much easier for programs to communicate with the JRCERT. Along with the electronic system will come a complete remodeling of the JRCERT website, making it much more user friendly.
There were two personnel announcements at the October board meeting. The JRCERT is proud to announce the addition of Ms. Kelly Brown, MPA, RT(T) as an accreditation specialist. Kelly has been an ARRT certified radiation therapist since 2001 and is coming to the JRCERT from her most recent position as program director for the radiation therapy program at the University of Michigan-Flint. Also, Penny Olivi, MBA, RT(R), CRA, FAHRA was elected as director from nominees provided by the AHRA to fill my term when it expires at the conclusion of the April 2012 board meeting. Of course, Penny needs no introduction to those of us associated with AHRA. Penny is the senior radiology administrator at the University of Maryland Medical Center and has served in more roles than we could possibly list for AHRA, including president. Penny was also a clinical educator in an earlier role and will be a valuable asset to the JRCERT.
This will be my last communication to the AHRA membership while on the JRCERT board. It has been my pleasure to be on the JRCERT board for the past five years. I hope that I have represented our profession well, and I thank you for the privilege.
The JRCERT continues to strive to ensure that educational programs in the radiologic sciences are operating in a manner that will result in a quality education for tomorrow’s professionals in the radiologic sciences. The high standards that our profession demands, and that our patients deserve, can only be achieved by all of us working together. Thank you for your dedication to our profession and your efforts to ensure our future.
Tim Ludwig, CRA, FAHRA is the Vice President of Ancillary Services at CarolinaEast Health System in New Bern, NC. He can be reached at email@example.com.