Frequently Asked Questions about Mammography
Mammography clinical practice is governed by a set of regulations that were required after the MQSA legislation. It requires an active ARRT certification in diagnostic radiology or a state license from state that have equivalent recognition. Your continuing education should be satisfied unless you are a new graduate.
AHEC will not accept a temporary license or certificate for enrollment into initial training for mammography.
You must wait! Regulations state that patient care should not be jeopardized by untrained personnel.
Facilities are performing either analog(film/screen) mammography or digital mammography. This refers to the type of equipment and image acquisition used to collect the data. Analog mammography uses a high quality film and wet process to develop the image which requires extensive quality control. The digital equipment uses an electronic image acquisition and display process to produce the image. They are so different in the process that the regulations require that you have 8 hours of documented training in the process used at your facility. This cannot be done through equipment applications.
At the current time, both types of equipment and processes are still on the ARRT advanced level certification exam. If you don’t train on both, you might not be successful.
AHEC requires documentation of a certification in mammography RT,(R)(M), completion of required CE hours, and current standing in experience that 200 or more procedures have been performed in the renewal period. This documentation must be faxed or mailed to AHEC to allow supervision. Supervisors and proctors must sign statements and use AHEC’s forms to document successful transfer of classroom and laboratory instruction to the clinical procedure.
Regulations require 15 hours of mammography related CE over a 3 year renewal period. During a MQSA facility inspection, the inspector will ask to see your certificates. Inspectors usually want the continuing education to be relevant and some push for you to do 5 hours each year and not wait until the end of your renewal period and try to do it all at one time. That is not the purpose of continuing education. You could be 3 years out of date.
If you do not satisfy the continuing education (15 hours) and experience (200 procedures) in the renewal period, you cannot perform procedures. If you violate these regulations, you could get a penalty and a cease and desist order for your facility. You can requalify by performing 25 procedures under supervision and obtaining the required continuing education.
The most recommended method is to simply keep a log of those procedures you will use to satisfy this requirement.
ARRT has all the information you will need to prepare for the exam in a booklet that you can order from them. Go to www.arrt.org and obtain the most current information.
AHEC’s online initial training program requires that you involve us in your training from the beginning. We will help you with everything you will require to complete the training and satisfy all the regulatory conditions. Don’t worry about that part. We are here to walk you through it.
You must check with your state to confirm requirements for your state. The MQSA does not prevent you from doing on demand courses or independent study. It does have to be approved by an RCEEM which is an approval agency recognized by the ARRT. Many mammographers prefer the seminar live event where they get to network and revisit old friends, but it isn’t required.
A review of positioning skills would be helpful. We offer an 8 hour online video that covers most of the important parts for positioning. In addition, an on-site instructor that works with each mammographer to identify and isolate what corrections can be done will significantly improve diagnostic quality.
AHEC has many educational partnerships where the facility sponsors or hosts a seminar for mammography. You can make it just for your in-house staff or you can allow us to market it to other mammogaphers in the community. Either way it is a morale booster and a community service. You can choose among the many AHEC course titles or we can design something just for your group. There is a minimum number of attendees required and that will depend upon where you ae located geographically and how far the instructor must travel. You supply a classroom and audiovisual equipment, and perhaps some coffee and pastries. Your employees receive some discount on tuition dependent upon how many attend. Usually a minimum of 15 attendees are needed to pay expenses. You may also participate as a group in our conference simulcasts from our corporate office in Houston. You would need a computer, a fast internet connection, and someone willing to serve as the proctor of the simulcast. The proctor has to register through the simulcast software for the broadcast. Their responsibilities include signing in the participants, logging into the broadcast, verifiying attendance, and mailing the attendance records along with names, addresses, and emails of the participants to AHEC. We then issue the certificates and email or snail mail them to the participants. There is no required number to host a simulcast. It’s an excellent method to get your CE and have a variety of programs to choose.
This is not allowed because of the specific content area that is specified for each of these educational curriculums. A facility can do their own training, however, it must be highly developed with educational objectives and meet the hourly requirement for the classroom hours as well as the clinical hours. It cannot be satisfied doing clinical patients. Most facilities are not willing to invest the time to develop such a program for one person.
The answer to this question depends on whether you have been compliant with your mammo CE and how long you have been out of the mammo workforce. Most mammo techs can perform 25 supervised exams and make sure their mammo CE is compliant. If you trained before the 40 hour requirement became effective, you probably would get a recommendation to take the current initial training program.