External Relations Report

Cindy R. Comeau, B.S., R.T.(N)(MR),FSMRT
Chair, External Relations Committee

(Links accessed on 10/25/2011)

As incoming SMRT External Relations Chair I’m looking forward to representing the SMRT in important collaborations with other professional organizations. In preparing this article I spent time reviewing current and past activities that the SMRT leadership has been involved with. To start with, outgoing External Relations Co-Chair Charles Stanley and Past SMRT President Julie Lowe have initiated collaborations with two professional organizations which I would like to update the membership on.

The 2011 SMRT Annual Meeting just held in Montréal, Canada presented a great opportunity to meet with the leadership of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT). The CAMRT is Canada’s national professional association and certifying body for medical radiation technologists and therapists for Canada. There are four disciplines represented among CAMRT’s membership: radiological technology, magnetic resonance, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy. A meeting held on 9 May 2011 identified some key areas of interest for collaboration between the SMRT and CAMRT. Continued communication with this organization will certainly develop into educational opportunities that will benefit all MRI professionals. Incoming SMRT President Vera Miller represented the SMRT at the recent CAMRT June Conference held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The second organization involves a new hybrid imaging modality that many of you have probably have heard about which is PET/MR. Communication with the Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologists Section (SNMTS) has started as current SMRT President Charles Stanley and I attended a SMRT and SNMTS leadership meeting on 4 June 2011 at the Society of Nuclear Medicine Meeting (SNM) that took place in San Antonio, Texas, USA. This meeting resulted with the formation of a PET/MR Task Force which will consist of SMRT and SNMTS representatives. The Task Force will be co-chaired by a SNMTS and SMRT representative and will meet by monthly conference calls. The first goal is to have a PET/MR white paper on educational requirements finalized by June 2012. This collaboration will ensure that the highest standards for educational training are achieved for those technologists/radiographers working with PET/MR scanners.

RSNA Associated Sciences Consortium
Since 1997 the SMRT has been a member of the RSNA Associated Sciences Consortium. The SMRT External Relations Chair attends the planning meeting in January held in Chicago each year. For those of you planning to attend RSNA this year the 2011 program can be viewed at:

Legislative Update
The SMRT is a member of the Alliance for Quality Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (AQMIRT) which has been holding a regular schedule of conference calls this past year which I have been participating in. This group has been driving The Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence (CARE) in Medical Imaging & Radiation Therapy bill. The CARE Bill was introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY-1) in the House of Representatives on 2 June 2011. The bill will be the same as S. 3737 that was introduced in the last Congress with updated effective dates. This information was announced by Christine Lung whom is the Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. It is now very important to keep the momentum going so please consider contacting your representative. The ASRT website makes this very simple, just go to:
https://www.asrt.org/content/GovernmentRelations/TakeItFurther/Landing.aspx select the "Take Action" button, then click on “Contact Your Representative TODAY” add a brief personal message and complete the "sender information" and the note will automatically be composed and routed to your representative. Additional information concerning the CARE Bill can be found at
 https://www.asrt.org/content/GovernmentRelations/CAREBill/faq_legislative.aspx. The AQMIRT will hold its next meeting during the week of RSNA which I will be attending.

On 22 September 2011 the “The Medical Access to Radiology Care Act, H.R. 3032”, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This proposed legislation would allow facilities to bill Medicare for medical imaging services performed by qualified radiologist assistants under the direction of a supervising radiologist.

Health Professions Network (HPN)
The Health Professions Network is comprised of a wide range of organizations representing leading healthcare professional associations, accrediting agencies and educational institutions, as well as federal and state workforce analysts and licensing and certification bodies. The 2011 Spring HPN meeting was held 12 – 15 April 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, the SMRT was represented by our current SMRT President Charles Stanley. The meeting presentation topics can be reviewed at:

The 2011 winter meeting was held 12 – 14 October 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida, USA which I just recently attended. Over 40 attendees were present at this meeting, of note, in attendance was Shelagh Lowe representing the “Services for Australian Rural & Remote Allied Health” organization. Her main objective in attending this meeting was to learn more about the Allied Health Care system in the United States. During the meeting I had the opportunity to meet and speak with many different organizations representatives which was very informative. The meeting presentations topics can be reviewed at:

SMRT Global Relations
SMRT Policy Board member Titti Owman currently serves as the Chair for the Global Relations for the SMRT. Our international presence continues to grow as TItti continues to make contact with the European Radiographers organizations. She attended the European Congress of Radiology meeting and met with different representatives from radiographers associations in Europe. Her presence at these meeting helps promotes the mission of the SMRT globally.

The SMRT leadership is very dedicated in ensuring that our profession is represented at all levels and continues to seek out new collaborations. I’m looking forward to continued communication with many new professionals from all of these different organizations. I also look forward to working with the current SMRT Executive Committee and Policy Board members in all external relations endeavors. In order to address recent questions concerning MRI technologist certification in the United States please review this fact sheet and share with your MRI colleagues. Did you realize that by promoting, educating and sharing information with others in and outside of our profession, we all perform external relation duties within our jobs as perhaps without even knowing it!