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As 2018 gets underway, I am energized by new SNMMI-TS initiatives. Our new strategic plan is being finalized with clear objectives for achieving goals in the areas of quality, value and safety; advocacy; education and professional development; and organizational strength and stability.

By Norman E. Bolus, MSPH, MPH, CNMT, FSNMMI-TS

Advocacy efforts on behalf of nuclear medicine technologists are ongoing at the federal and state levels to address licensure and scope-of-practice issues.

Mandating licensure has moved from the federal to the state level. This is a positive change for, while more labor intensive to work with each state, it’s easier to accomplish change at the state level. With technological advances, licensure requirements need to be continually updated. Pennsylvania doesn’t even currently require licensure, so SNMMI has helped get a licensure bill introduced and will be asking members in that state to contact their representatives on its behalf.

There have also been efforts to either eliminate licensure requirements or to grant the authority to perform nuclear medicine procedures to other, lesser-trained professionals. In some states, like West Virginia and New Hampshire, legislators have tried to eliminate or roll back licensure requirements to shrink the size of their governments. In other states, like Texas, providers such as advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants are seeking to expand their scope of practice to include much of what physicians and technologists currently do. So, we must be constantly vigilant. We successfully opposed such efforts in New Hampshire, West Virginia and Texas, but new attempts may be made in 2018.

Scope of practice is another issue. In Maryland, NMTCB CT certification is not accepted to perform standalone CT. To work to change this, SNMMI has nominated Michael Vogel to the Maryland licensure board, and we have prepared recommendations for that licensure board.

As reported previously, a Model Practice Act is being developed that will cover everything that defines our profession. Once finalized, we will work state-by-state to have this language recognized and referenced.

The Technologist Advocacy Group (TAG) state representatives help SNMMI’s efforts tremendously by keeping track of what is happening in each state. So, a big thank you to all the TAG representatives! (For the list by state of TAG representatives, including contact information, click here.

We are also exploring the possibility of achieving professional status for nuclear medicine technologists. In so doing, we must keep in mind potential drawbacks. Professional status generally requires a bachelor’s degree for entry-level. In addition, should the Bureau of Labor Standards accept our recommendation for professional status, employers may not provide technologists with overtime pay. As we examine the pros and cons of a possible status change, we will be reaching out to members for input.

By working together, we can safeguard and advance our profession. That’s why membership, and indeed active membership, in SNMMI-TS is so important. We want to hear your thoughts and concerns; your voice is important! And, SNMMI-TS is here for you in myriad ways, including continuing education, publications and other resources, advocacy and career assistance. Please take advantage of all your member benefits.

The New Year will undoubtedly bring fresh opportunities and challenges. I look forward to working with you to strengthen our profession and provide members with the resources, support and advocacy that will improve working conditions and enable us to better serve our patients.