NCRP Report No. 160

May 18, 2009 · Posted in Radiation Safety · Comment 

NCRP Report No. 160, “Ionizing Radiation Exposure of the Population of the United State,” was released in March 2009.   This report is an update of the NCRP report No. 93 that was published in 1987. A copy of this report should be in every physics office, and reviewing this report is a must if you are a medical physicist who is responsible for teaching radiation safety education to radiation workers or if you are a physicist who is planning to take the board exam.  

In summary, the main message of NCRP No.160 is that the population dose (the collective effective dose) has doubled since the previously reported value. See table below.

  Early 1980 2006
Collective effective dose (person-Sv) 835,000 1,870,000
Effective dose per individual in the US population (mSv) 3.6 6.2
Background Radiation 83% 50%
Medical* 15% 48%


*The main increase in medical radiation is that the use of CT in diagnostic procedures has increased from a few million procedures per year in the 1980s to over 60 million procedures in 2006.  

The other interesting piece of information to glean from the report is that commercial airline crews are the workers who received the highest annual individual dose at a little above 3 mSv. Another occupational category to note are the workers in nuclear power plants who received about 2 mSv. All other occupational categories received average annual dose exposures of less than 1 mSv.

For more information on this report go to the NCRP website.

RSNA 2009 Annual Meeting – Chicago

May 13, 2009 · Posted in Conferences / Meetings · 3 Comments 

Chicago skylineThe Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting this year will be held November 29-December 4, 2009 at the McCormick Place Convention Center, as always, in Chicago, IL. Of all the U.S. cities in which to hold a conference, few could offer more things to do than Chicago. This is both a good thing and a bad one, because while there are literally thousands of different activities one can engage in while visiting, as a tourist (particular one attending a meeting!) one is limited in time and (at least, for most of us) budget. These limitations make visiting a city like Chicago somewhat overwhelming. For those of you attending the RSNA meeting this year looking for excellent (which means reliable and relatively inexpensive) housing options as well as the most enjoyable–and, again, inexpensive–things to do, we have put together a list, as promised. Read more

New ABR Certification Rules Starting in 2012 for Medical Physicists

May 10, 2009 · Posted in Education / Training · 30 Comments 

In a recent issue of “Physics Today” (May 2009), there is an informative article on new training standards that may be of interest to current and future medical physics students. The article, “Medical Physics Standardizes Clinical Training,” was published in the Issues and Events section and is written by Toni Feder. This article is a must-read for all newcomers to (and those thinking about joining) the Medical Physics field. Here is a copy of the article below, which can also be found on the “Physics Today” website. Read more

Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008

May 6, 2009 · Posted in State / Fed Regs · Comment 

Did you know that by 2012 the providers of “Advanced Diagnostic Imaging” services must obtain accreditation from an organization designated by the Department of Health in order to get reimbursement for their services? This is a provision in the bill passed by Congress in July 2008. The term “Advanced Diagnostic Imaging” includes Nuclear Medicine, Computer Tomography, PET, and Diagnostic Magnetic Resonance Imaging Services. Section 135 of this bill describes these provisions:


(a) Accreditation Requirement-

(1) ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENT- Section 1834 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m) is amended by inserting after subsection (d) the following new subsection:

(e) Accreditation Requirement for Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Services-


(A) IN GENERAL- Beginning with January 1, 2012, with respect to the technical component of advanced diagnostic imaging services for which payment is made under the fee schedule established under section 1848(b) and that are furnished by a supplier, payment may only be made if such supplier is accredited by an accreditation organization designated by the Secretary under paragraph (2)(B)(i).

(B) ADVANCED DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING SERVICES DEFINED- In this subsection, the term ‘advanced diagnostic imaging services’ includes–

(i) diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and nuclear medicine (including positron emission tomography); and…

The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) in an article in their Autumn 2008 newsletter wrote that they were very pleased by the passage of this bill. They stated: “This powerful legislation includes a provision requiring the accreditation of imaging facilities as well as the elimination of a scheduled 10.6% payment cut for physicians.” 

In another paragraph they wrote: “The passage of this bill marks a turning point in recognizing the importance of quality standards and accreditation for medical imaging on a nationwide basis. The portion of the legislation requiring accreditation stipulates that the accreditation programs must evaluate that physicians and staff maintain the proper level of training and education; that laboratories use imaging equipment which adheres to strict standards of performance and operates under proper safety guidelines; and that all laboratories establish and maintain a quality assurance program, thereby upholding the standards of quality care for patients, particularly senior citizens.” Here is a link to the IAC website:
The passage of this bill is also a good news for the Medical Physics community, especially for those of us who are Diagnostic Imaging physicists. The question, however, is whether there will be enough qualified diagnostic medical physicists in 2012 to provide this service on a national basis? So if you are a medical physics student and have yet to choose your area of speciality, this seems to be an opportune time to be a diagnostic imaging physicist.

RSNA 2009 Annual Meeting – Chicago

May 4, 2009 · Posted in Conferences / Meetings · Comment 

The RSNA 95th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting will be held at McCormick Place, Chicago November 29 to December 4, 2009.

If you are planning or thinking about attending the RSNA annual meeting this year, here are the important dates to mark in your calendars:

April 29: Member registration and housing open

May 27: Non-member registration and housing open

June 30: Course enrollment opens

October 23: International deadline to have full conference materials mailed in advance

November 6: Final discounted advanced registration, housing and course enrollment deadline to have full conference materials mailed in advance

The Advanced Registration and Housing brochures are available online at the meeting’s homepage.

The RSNA is an excellent opportunity for medical physicists who cannot attend the AAPM annual meeting this year for any reason–either due to economical issues or previous scheduling engagements–to fulfill their continuing education credits and professional development responsibilities. Note that registration for the RSNA annual meeting is free for RSNA and AAPM members!! Stay tuned for a post in the near future on suggested economical/comfortable accommodations and interesting (and, of course, economical) things to do in the area!

For further information on this meeting go to RSNA meeting website.

Developer’s Comments on Radiation Passport Article

May 3, 2009 · Posted in Miscellaneous · Comment 

There are a couple of interesting new comments on our article, Radiation Passport: Radiation exposure iPhone App, published on March 17, 2009. The comments were left by the software developer himself in response to our concerns, and I encourage you to review them and to leave your own comments/thoughts/feedback.

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