this article from the Seattle times was passed on to by our billing mgr..
maybe were finally getting some recognition
bill rice rvt,rdcs
Thomas Jefferson university
By Victor Godinez
The Dallas Morning News
Medicare is slowly rolling out a new requirement that all vascular imaging
done at hospitals and clinics be performed by a certified vascular
technologist, a move that experts say is spurring demand for such
Medicare's new policy, which is in effect in most states, means that
hospitals that perform vascular imaging on Medicare-eligible patients will
be required to have a certified worker do the tests to receive reimbursement
Vascular technologists work the machines that take pictures of the insides
of veins and arteries to check for blockages or damage.
A recent report by Irving, Texas-based recruiting firm Allied Consulting
found there are fewer than 8,000 registered vascular technologists, or RVTs,
"There are a little over 7,000 hospitals in the United States," said Melissa
Culp, director of marketing for the Southwest division at Allied Consulting.
"Not every hospital is going to have a vascular department, especially the
smaller ones. But you've got your large systems that are doing a lot of
vascular procedures that are going to need a good two or three RVTs on staff
to handle your patient load."
Culp said Medicare's aim is to cut down on testing errors and expensive
duplicate tests. She said Medicare is considering imposing a similar
requirement on all imaging specialties that could be in place as early as
Mark Petersen, director of radiology at Zale Lipshy University Hospital in
Dallas, said the vascular-tech certification requirements are tough but
"I do feel that the techs become more qualified," he said. "It's a very
tough exam to pass. Oftentimes, they don't pass the first time."
Kevin Evans, president of the Dallas-based Society of Diagnostic Medical
Sonography, said more schools need to be created specifically for training
"We're having to look at folks who are X-ray techs who happen to be
interested in the vascular area or nurses who are used to doing EKGs," he
said. "We're looking at other related professions and training them to do
this work, rather than having a program that actually turns out folks who
have dedicated education in this area. It's a problem."
That shortage is manifesting itself in the form of higher salaries for those
who do pass the exams, Culp said. "In fact, we're seeing RVTs being
recruited for anywhere from $28 to $33 an hour," she said.
Hospitals will also have to compete with the emergence of outpatient imaging
centers, where techs can work an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, Culp said.