By Mark W. Steffen, CRA, FAHRA
It is with mixed emotions that I write my final Link article as a commissioner for the Radiology Administration Certification Commission (RACC). I was elected to serve in 2012 and have now completed my three-year term. Due to the time required in my current position as Physician Practice Director with Advocate Medical Group and no longer having any direct oversight of imaging, I decided not to run for re-election this year.
As I began reflecting on my term as Commissioner, I was very pleased with the achievements the RACC has accomplished and the progress CRAs will continue to see.
- Growth in CRAs: When I began my term on the RACC in January 2012, there were 852 CRAs and 11 CRA-Retired. The Commission was planning to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the CRA at the AHRA Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL. We set a goal to reach 1,000 CRAs by end of 2013 and have 20% of the AHRA membership as CRAs by the 2014 Annual Meeting. With the assistance of our fellow CRAs, we were able to achieve 9% growth in 2012, 10.5% growth in 2013 and 7.5% growth as we head in 2015, including the recent CRAs that achieved designation in November. With this growth in CRAs, we met both goals by our target deadlines. Our current numbers stand at 1,102 CRAs and 28 CRA-Retired.
- Additional CRA events at the AHRA Spring, Fall, and Annual Conferences: During my term on the RACC, I felt it was important to increase the value of the CRA designation by adding new CRA events and adding fun activities to the existing events. The RACC introduced the CRA breakfast at the 2013 Spring Conference in Los Angeles to provide another location where current CRAs could mingle and future CRAs could get answers to any questions they might have. At the 2013 Fall Conference, the breakfast became a luncheon, a change that continued into the 2014 Spring Conference. And to ‘spice up’ the CRA reception at the Annual Meeting (as if it needed any spicing up!), we added the CRA Bingo game at the 2013 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis to allow more chances to meet both new and old friends. Unfortunately due to a family emergency I was not able to join the bingo game at the 2014 Annual Meeting, but first year commissioner, Bette Drescher, stepped forward in my place and did a great job!
- Increase interest in CRAs actively supporting the credential: I was able to serve on the RACC nominations committee twice, serving as the chair in 2013. The number of applicants doubled from 2012 to 2013. The quality of CRAs interested in giving back to the RACC was very impressive. We have a talented pool of individuals within our organization, and I am very confident that the two newly elected commissioners will bring additional experience and value when they start their terms in 2015! Additionally, in the past few years we’ve seen a large percentage of exam candidates who listed another CRA referring them as part of the reason they were taking the exam (37% of November 2014 exam candidates). We’ve also had a great response from CRAs requesting information packets that help supply more information about the CRA to distribute to their colleagues and employers. This year we began asking CRAs to share their stories about earning the credential and being a CRA, we’ve found ourselves very inspired by some of the exciting things our fellow CRAs have been doing!
As I close, I would like thank my colleagues on the RACC: Rick Perez, Jacqui Rose, Bruce Hammond, Bette Drescher, Kimlyn Queen, and Sheryl Jackson (Public Commissioner) for their friendship and partnership in this great endeavor. I would also be remiss not to mention ‘rock star’ Kathryn Keeler, well, for being a rock star! Finally I would like to thank all CRAs, those who I was fortunate to meet and those I wasn’t, for the support and guidance over the past three years that helped shape me into a better commissioner!
Rick, Jacqui, Bruce, and Bette, along with Sheryl and Kathryn, will return in 2015 with two new commissioners. I have total faith that I will be leaving the CRA and the RACC in good hands!
Mark W. Steffen, CRA, FAHRA is the director of physician practice management at Advocate Medical Group in Des Plaines, IL. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.