By Enrico M. Perez, CRA, FAHRA
I have been in imaging and healthcare for many years, and each year we hope the issues we are facing will improve in the coming year. We begin to understand that things may get worse, but we are still surprised when they do. We go to organizational meetings and learn that everyone in the industry is under the same pressure, and, if we look further, find out that many other industries are facing similar pressures and regulations. I have begun to realize that our success lies in our ability to adapt to the changing regulations, standards, and criteria that are being placed upon the industry based on best practices and outcomes. Along with this we deal with human resource issues – the human beings that we work with, for, and take care of – and have to prove that what we do has value that both insurance and patients are willing to pay for. We prove this with graphs, diagrams, and reports.
Is this you? If it is, you probably take part in educational meetings and belong to technical and professional organizations (such as AHRA) that help keep you up to date on the issues and give you insight into how certain issues are dealt with by others. This sparks your own thoughts and ideas, which you share with your peers and staff and gain additional viewpoints from hearing their thoughts and working together to develop solutions.
Still sound like you? Then you should strongly consider becoming a CRA. Attaining the CRA credential says to your peers: “Not only do I do these tasks every day, but I have been recognized by our industry as someone who has proven these skills and taken an interest in bettering the field.” We are over 1000 CRAs strong and growing. We are making the credential better known, and it is appearing on more job descriptions as a requirement or at least preferred. This growth has enabled our profession to be more widely recognized, and we continue to make progress in expanding the knowledge of what the CRA is and what the individual who holds this certification can be expected to do. Holding the CRA shows that not only do you have the knowledge, but more importantly that you continue to develop your knowledge and skills by taking CE courses for CRA renewal.
If you are not a CRA yet, and in the field as a manager or administrator, begin the process to get your CRA certification and work toward requiring it of your staff. By raising the bar for yourself and your department, you will help those of us who have already gone down this path to keep growing the number of CRA’s in healthcare, which will in turn improve healthcare as a whole. The more of us proudly displaying our CRAs, the faster this will occur. If you are already a CRA, I know you are proud of your accomplishments, but don’t let it end there, push your staff and students so that they are aware of the imaging management career path and the CRA as a goal to achieve. Display your certification with pride!
Enrico M. Perez, CRA, FAHRA is the director of radiology at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY. He is also the 2014 Chair of the RACC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.