By Enrico M. Perez, CRA, FAHRA
March 2013—With 2013 already in full swing, it is interesting to think how fast time is going by, and it may sound corny to say, but as much as things change, they also stay the same. When the CRA exam was first administered in 2002, many of us were dealing with mergers, insurance changes, a post 9-11 world, and an uncertain future. Not much is different today, as we are dealing with hospitals closing, catastrophic weather, more insurance changes, core measures, and pay for performance. We have a patient population that is now being affected by these changes and is becoming vocal about their expectations and about the costs they are incurring due to new legislation since they share in the expense.
The one consistent driving force throughout the years, regardless of the changes in our industry, is that we take care of patients. Imaging departments have to have an administrator whose role it is to try and make sense of the changes we are about to face in the industry and then lead the team through those changes, adjusting processes and policies so that we can meet the regulatory standards for the states we live in and those set forth by The Joint Commission. Leading the helm of many organizations is a CRA, and our numbers are growing as time goes on and as the credential becomes more universally accepted.
Many imaging administrators come from within the industry, growing with the technology and education and gaining the knowledge needed to lead in these times of uncertainty. All of us rely on the industry knowledge and connectivity amongst our peers provided by professional organizations, such as AHRA, ARRT, ASRT, AAMA, and RBMA. We rely on surveys and consultants, who provide information and help review operations, to bring perspective and outside approval or justification. We then answer surveys, taking part in research on what we believe the future will bring based upon the experiences we have had in our careers.
CRAs represent a group of administrators who have taken the challenge over the past 10 years to become certified, and we hope more administrators will take the challenge. Your RACC commissioners have been working on increasing awareness and acceptance of the CRA by many organizations. The goal is that every administrator position be listed as CRA preferred, since we believe that a person with CRA certification represents someone who has demonstrated they have the education and expertise in the imaging industry and will continue to learn, since CRAs are required to earn CE credits to maintain the credential. We hope this will become a requirement of the ACR, The Joint Commission, and other organizations; and for imaging centers or imaging departments since imaging services touch every department of a hospital, every referring office, and most importantly every patient requiring our service.
Take pride in what you do, continue your formal education, and become a CRA to help make our industry and our credential stronger.
If you wish to take the CRA exam this May, please note that the application deadline is March 4, 2013. You can find the application form here.
Enrico M. Perez, CRA, FAHRA is the director of radiology at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY. He can be reached at email@example.com.