Tag: Continuing Education

Requirement of Continuing Education Credits for MQSA Inspection

Continuing Education Credits are necessary for rad techs working in mammographic facilities. The CE credits help in qualifying the MQSA assessment. MQSA inspection is an annual affair. The inspectors certified under the MQSA evaluate the mammography facility. The assessment is based on the Mammography Quality Standard Act standards for facilities to provide proper patient care. In addition, the inspector informs the facility well in advance of the inspection date. The prior information helps the facility to adjust its schedule accordingly.

 

The evaluation covers everything present in the facility, such as:

  • The equipment
  • Services
  • Patient care
  • Certification
  • CE scores of the professionals working there

Every professional working there should have an active license that complies with the latest ARRT guidelines. This article will discuss how credits can help a facility pass the MQSA evaluation.

MQSA Inspection and CE Credits

MQSA evaluation inspectors follow guidelines set in 1999. To clarify, the main aim of conducting this annual inspection is to maintain mammography quality by providing the best quality services to patients around the U.S. The guidelines mentioned in the Act have an elongated description of the facility, and also includes credit requirements for people working there.

The following are some points you can use to prepare yourself for the inspection. Suppose the facility does not comply with the guidelines and quality standards set by the MQSA. In that case:

  • The license will nullify and the facility will no longer perform mammograms
  • The inspectors may also ban them from providing any service to patients

The facilities to undergo an evaluation need to have the following:

  • Every person should meet the quality standard set by the MQSA
  • The radiation dose should be under the permissible limit
  • The facility should have an accreditation certificate
  • The FDA authorizes agencies to certify such facilities
  • One should have a certification from the FDA to perform mammograms
  • The facility should display the certification visibly to mammography patients

Facilities must update the inspection certification. They should undergo MQSA inspection and evaluations by authorized physicists to maintain their certification. The facilities should take all the corrective actions when the inspectors point out a mistake.

Preparing for the evaluation

The annual evaluation is not only to assess the mammography units and their quality, but it also evaluates:

  • medical records
  • personnel and customer handling
  • medical audits

Below are the mentioned requirements of different departments during the MQSA assessment:

Requirements for personnel:

There are two requirements that workers have to comply with when working in a mammography service provider facility: the initial requirements, and the mammography continuing education requirements. Here, we will look at both of these requirements. The MQSA inspector will check these before marking you clear in the inspection.

Initial MQSA requirements:

You need to have one of the following with you:

  • State license for general radiography

OR

  • A general radiography certification from the FDA and the ARRT

All of the following points need to be checked:

  • 8 hours of training in all the mammographic modalities. These modalities should be the same that you will use while performing the mammographic exam.
  • You should have conducted 25 mammographic examinations under a MQSA-certified supervisor.
  • Subsequently, you should have 40 hours of training in mammography. The training should be documented and supervised by a qualified instructor. Your training must include training in
    • positioning and compression
    • quality control and assurance techniques
    • breast anatomy and physiology

Other than these, you must be trained in conducting mammography examinations on patients with breast implants.

MQSA requirements for individuals who qualified as radiologic technologists before 4/28/99 are a bit different. Look at the table below to find the information for yourself.

Qualified as a Radiologic Tech before 4/28/99 (INTERIM) Qualified as a Radiologic Tech after 4/28/99 (FINAL)

Must have one of the following:

Must have one of the following:

General Certification from the ARRT or the ARCRT ARRT General Certification
General Radiography License from any state Valid license from any state on General Radiography
Must have one of the following: Must have one of the following:
  • 40 hours of mammographic training
  • ARRT (M)
  • AZ Mammography Certification
  • NV Mammography Certification
  • CA Mammography Certification
  • Should have completed the FDA accepted training
40 hours of mammography training that must include the following:

  • Breast Anatomy
  • Positioning and Compression
  • Quality Control and Quality Assurance
  • Breast Implant mammography examination
  • Physiology
The MQSA allows attestation only if the training completion date is before 10/1/94 Should have conducted 25 exams under supervision
Start Date_____

(The Later of 10/1/94 or on the date when your last qualification was completed)

Start Date_____

(The Later of 10/1/94 or on the date when your last qualification was completed)

Should have 8 hours of training in any new modality if it has to be used. Should have 8 hours of training in any new modality if it has to be used.

These are the initial qualification requirements for personnel working in mammography facilities.  Most importantly, these need to be fulfilled as per their qualification completion date. In addition, all the information should be documented for the interviewer to check and verify.

Continuing mammography education credit requirements for mammography technologists

When you meet the initial requirements, you will conduct examinations under supervisors. You will need to earn continuing education credits; therefore, you will have permission to perform examinations of patients in the absence of a supervisor. You can earn these credits by taking a few courses or by teaching the modalities to others. You should earn the CE credits within 36 months immediately preceding the MQSA inspection date. Please bear the following points in mind:

  • Firstly, the credits you earn through teaching can be counted only once. For example, if you teach the course 4 times, the credits will only be counted once towards the 15 credit units.
  • Secondly, each modality should have six units; nothing less than that will be considered.

The new notice from the FDA Guidance Help System related to the 6 credit scores of mammography modalities suggests the following:

NOTE: The FDA is delaying enforcement of the six-hour new modality continuing education requirement indefinitely. Therefore, the inspector will assess the compliance with this requirement for each individual. It will be during the first facility inspection performed after the following date benchmarks have passed:
  • The third anniversary of the end date of the quarter calendar in which the candidate qualified for the initial requirements, or
  • June 30, 2002, or
  • The third-anniversary date when the candidate started using the new modality.

The FDA has intended to remove the requirement based on mammography modality continuing education credits on the recommendation of:

  • The National Mammography Quality Assurance Advisory Committee
  • The Institute of Medicine

Therefore, it has delayed the enforcement of the six-credit requirement for an indefinite period.

How will I know when my MQSA CE credits are due? 

You will need to check with your facility supervisor to know the MQSA inspection date. The inspector calculates the CE credits from the preceding 36 months from the inspection date. Some inspectors go with the quarterly reporting system. Therefore, only your facility supervisor will be able to tell you when your MQSA CE credits are due.

Where can I get additional information on MQSA CE requirements? 

The FDA requirements for MQSA inspection are duly displayed on the FDA’s Policy Guideline Help System for MQSA. Additionally, you will get answers to any query that you may have or need clarification on.

Can the application training that is received at work be counted towards my MQSA requirements? 

Yes, you can count the credits earned during application training at work towards the MQSA requirements. However, the credits may not apply to your state inspection requirements because each state inspection has different laws to comply with.

What documents should I present at the time of inspection? 

There are a few sets of documents that you need to present at the time of inspection. The documents are:

  • State license
  • Board certificate
  • Initial training requirement documentation
  • Certificate of 15 CE credits completion
  • A document containing information about you having completed the continuing experience requirement for the MQSA. Therefore, you should have experience with performing a minimum of 200 mammograms during the given time.

What if I fail to meet the MQSA CE requirements? 

Suppose you fail to meet the requirements of one or both of these:

  • continuing education credits
  • continuing experience credits

Consequently, you will have to hold performing non-supervised examinations. However, you will have 90 days to earn 15 continuing education credits from the date of inspection. After that, you can perform mammography examinations, but only under supervision. To complete your experience credits, you will have to perform 25 mammography examinations. However, these must be under the direct supervision of a MQSA-qualified radiologic technologist.

Final Words

The workers and equipment of the facility should meet the standards of the MQSA assessment. To clarify, workers need to earn continuing education credits per their position. Additionally, they have 36 months to earn the continuing education credits after starting their mammography practice individually. If a technologist fails to earn credits within the period, it may result in the dismissal of a practicing license. The MQSA evaluation ensures the well-functioning of the facility, resulting in improved patient care.

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