Rachel Masey

Recent Posts

Find your VOICE: Radiation Safety

POSTED BY Rachel Masey ON Mon, Jul 22, 2013 @ 02:14 PM

If you need VOICE credits, or are simply interested in exploring new imaging topics, BC Technical is your partner for success. We offer monthly webinars that can be accessed at your convenience. Each course is worth 1 VOICE credit and has been developed by our Clinical Support Specialists.

Our current webinar topic: Radiation Safety

          REGISTER NOW FOR IMMEDIATE ACCESS! CEU, webinar, voice, ARRT, ASRT

  Register for Webinar

 

 

Systems, Service, and Parts solutions for NM, SPECT, SPECT/CT, PET, PET/CT, CT, and MRI

 

CMS Decision on PET Scan Reimbursements

POSTED BY Rachel Masey ON Thu, Jul 18, 2013 @ 12:12 PM

The following commentary explains some important changes with the CMS decision on PET scan reimbursements:

ONLY A FEW DAYS AWAY

POSTED BY Rachel Masey ON Wed, Jun 5, 2013 @ 11:42 AM

BC Technical will be exhibiting at: 

SNMMI Annual Meeting - Booth #1314

Vancouver BC, Canada
June 8-11, 2013      

Airport Body Scanner Risks - Get the Facts Here

POSTED BY Rachel Masey ON Tue, Jun 4, 2013 @ 02:22 PM

So there you are standing, shoeless, in a line impatiently waiting to send your belongings through the baggage scanner when you realize that you yourself are required to be scanned and examined as well. How do you feel about that?

Image Quality Damaged Due To Obesity

POSTED BY Rachel Masey ON Wed, May 1, 2013 @ 11:02 AM

Did you know that an excessive amount of body fat damages the quality of images that you would get from using a CT or MR scanner? In order for a scan to be successful and the images to be precise, the x-rays must be able to infiltrate through layers of skin, tissue and fat. Since all body tissue absorbs and averts a certain amount of the x-ray waves, it is even more difficult to capture accurate data and images for people who are severely overweight. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and there is no doubt that that number will continue to increase. This disturbing statistic has forced companies to accommodate for these patients in a few different ways:

CMS Final Rule - 2013 Cuts for Medical Imaging

POSTED BY Rachel Masey ON Sun, Nov 11, 2012 @ 09:48 AM
On November 1, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced more unfavorable cuts for medical imaging. Under the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula requirements, overall physician payment rates will be cut by 26.5%. Since 2003, Congress has overridden this required reduction. If Congress takes action again for the 2013 rule, payments to primary care specialists will increase, however, select specialties such as radiology will decrease.

In the final rule, CMS said, “Payments to primary care specialties ... will increase due to redistributions from changes in payments for services furnished by other specialties. Because of the budget-neutral nature of this system, decreases in payments for one service result in increases in payments in others."

The rule will be published in the Federal Register on November 16; the final comment period will close on December 31, and the rule will take effect on January 1, 2013.

Read more about the CMS final rule here.
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Medicare & Medical Imaging

POSTED BY Rachel Masey ON Mon, Nov 5, 2012 @ 09:47 AM
Advances in Technology

Due to life-saving technological advances and new applications of existing technology, medical imaging experienced a marked increase in utilization and spending from 2001 to 2005.  Imaging became central to good medical practice—decreasing the need for invasive surgical procedures and delays in diagnosis. Better computer technology and breakthroughs in clinical applications enabled doctors to better target many treatments and eliminate others that became unnecessary. Among these technologies are PET and CT scans.

The Deficit Reduction Act (DRA)

Despite the advances in technology, Medicare reimbursements for medical imaging services have been cut eight times since 2006. Per beneficiary spending on advanced imaging services (often singled out for payment cuts by federal policymakers) has declined by 27.6 percent. This decline does not line up with the perception among some policymakers that Medicare spending on imaging services is growing. In 2007, the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) reduced payments to imaging dramatically. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated $500 million in reimbursement cuts to medical imaging, but after implementation, the total was nearly $1.6 billion. Cuts are planned to continue through 2013.

In 2006, at its peak, imaging spending was 13 percent of Medicare carrier paid claims. However, in 2011 it dropped to only 9.3 percent. Medicare devoted a smaller portion of spending to imaging in 2011 than at any point in the last decade. The rate of imaging growth relative to the overall Medicare program was a key factor, cited by policymakers, in targeting medical imaging for reimbursement cuts in the past.

Medical Imaging Utilization

A year-over-year decrease began in 2010 for the utilization of all imaging technology services. This means Medicare beneficiaries received fewer scans per beneficiary than in the previous year. Despite new clinical applications of imaging technology and evidence of the role of imaging in reducing healthcare costs, this decline in Medicare beneficiaries’ use of medical imaging services has continued. The contrast between the proven value of imaging and its declining use raises serious concerns that further payment cuts may threaten access to appropriate medical imaging for many Medicare patients.

The decline can also be attributed to advancements in the education of physicians on appropriate imaging. As physicians use guidelines on imaging, they are better able to discuss the benefits and risks of imaging with patients and their families to make informed decisions about the best path forward.
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Nuclear Medicine Fact Sheet

POSTED BY Rachel Masey ON Mon, Oct 8, 2012 @ 09:42 AM
What is nuclear medicine?
Nuclear medicine specialists use safe, painless, and cost-effective techniques to image the body and treat disease. Nuclear medicine imaging is unique, because it provides doctors with information about both structure and function. It is a way to gather medical information that would otherwise be unavailable, require surgery, or necessitate more expensive diagnostic tests. Nuclear medicine imaging procedures often identify abnormalities very early in the progress of a disease long before many medical problems are apparent with other diagnostic tests. Nuclear medicine uses very small amounts of radioactive materials (radiopharmaceuticals) to diagnose and treat disease. In imaging, the radiopharmaceuticals are detected by special types of cameras that work with computers to provide very precise pictures about the area of the body being imaged. In treatment, the radiopharmaceuticals go directly to the organ being treated.


What is PET?
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a major diagnostic imaging modality used in determining the presence and severity of cancers, neurological conditions, and cardiovascular disease. It is currently the most effective way to check for cancer recurrences. PET images demonstrate the chemistry of organs and other tissues such as tumors. A radiopharmaceutical, such as FDG fluorodeoxyglucose), which includes both sugar (glucose) and a radionuclide (a radioactive element) that gives off signals, is injected into the patient, and its emissions are measured by a PET scanner.
PETCT
What do nuclear medicine professionals do?
A nuclear medicine technologist is a highly skilled professional who performs nuclear medicine examinations using specialized equipment to produce high-quality images of structures inside the human body. After the examination, the technologist reviews the images and the patient’s history with a physician trained in the interpretation of nuclear medicine procedures that renders a final diagnosis. Both physicians and technologists are supported by specially trained physicists and pharmacists who ensure the reliability and quality of the instruments and safety of the radiopharmaceuticals used in the performance of nuclear medicine exams.


How do I know if I am receiving high-quality care?
Ask if your nuclear medicine technologist is certified. Certified technologists have demonstrated that they have specific training and experience to perform a nuclear medicine examination accurately. In order to maintain their certification, technologists are required to earn continuing medical education credits each year, which helps ensure that they are current with nuclear medicine technology and patient care skills. Ask if the nuclear medicine practice you are visiting is accredited. Practices that have obtained accreditation have demonstrated competency in every aspect of their operation, including the education and training of doctors and technologists, nuclear medicine equipment, document storage, policies safeguarding patients, and accuracy in diagnosis.


How safe are nuclear medicine procedures?
Nuclear medicine procedures are among the safest diagnostic imaging exams available. To obtain diagnostic information, a patient is given a very small amount of a radiopharmaceutical. Because such a small amount is used, the amount of radiation received from a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable with that received during a diagnostic x-ray. The nuclear medicine team will carefully perform the most appropriate examination for the patient’s particular medical problem and thereby avoid any unnecessary radiation exposure.

BC Technical Online Training for CE Credits!

POSTED BY Rachel Masey ON Thu, Sep 13, 2012 @ 09:41 AM
In order to provide the best patient care, health professionals must invest in educational opportunities that give them up to date knowledge and skills. Within the nuclear medicine and molecular imaging field,Technologists are required to earn 24 CE credits every two years by completing approved educational activities.  However, continuing education is not just a requirement for certification. It increases the chances of the best possible results for patient care. New discoveries in health care are made every day. Health care providers have the opportunity to learn new skills, gain new information, and put them to work for the benefit of their patients.

BC Technical is proud to offer continuing education opportunities to help you achieve your highest level of health service for your patients. Beginning this fall, we will offer multiple online courses. All CE courses are approved by The Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging for Category A credit. 

Recently, BC Technical, Inc. attended the Viva Las Vegas show – SNM Pacific Southwest Technologists Chapter. Ava Bixler, our molecular imaging Clinical Product Specialist, presented on Radiation Safety. If you missed out, here is a highlight from her speech.

Did you know?

Because they contain low levels of minerals that naturally decay, bananas are radioactive. The fruit contains high levels of potassium. Radioactive K-40 has an isotopic abundance of 0.01% and a half-life of 1.25 billion years.

The average banana contains around 450 mg of potassium and will experience about 14 decays each second. It's no big deal; you already have potassium in your body, 0.01% as K-40. We know that bananas are an essential part of proper nutrition and proven to help with stress, anemia, depression, hangovers, morning sickness, and many other heath issues.However, can your body handle the radiation?

Eating a banana for breakfast is not going to set off a Geiger counter. However, if you carry a produce truck full of them, you might encounter some problems!

Interesting Facts:

Banana Equivalent Doses

500 Million = Ten minutes next to Chernobyl reactor core after explosion and meltdown

80 Million = Fatal dose even with treatment

20 Million = Severe radiation poisoning, fatal in some cases

500,000 = Maximum legal yearly dose for a US radiation worker

70,000 = Chest CT scan

40,000 = Ten years of normal background dose, 85% of which is from natural sources

4000 = Mammogram

1000 = Approximate total dose received at Fukushima Town Hall in two weeks following accident

400 = Flight from London to New York

300 = Yearly release target for a nuclear power plant

200 = Chest X-ray

50 = Dental X-ray

1 = Eating a banana
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As new information becomes available, it’s important for professionals to learn, not only for their own growth, but also for the benefit of the client. This is especially true in health care, as it has a significant impact on the health and well-being of patients. Customers in health care are not purchasing a product; they are gaining a better quality of life and potentially more years of healthy existence as a result of the knowledge of their health care providers. ­­

The Thallium Stallions in Concert @ the SNM

POSTED BY Rachel Masey ON Fri, May 25, 2012 @ 09:41 AM
Every year, the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) holds its annual meeting. According to the SNM, this meeting is, “the premier educational and networking event in molecular imaging and nuclear medicine.” This year’s meeting will offer virtual learning opportunities, networking events, an exhibit hall packed with the latest technology, and the latest educational content.

The 2012 SNM Annual Meeting will be held June 9-13 in Miami Beach, FL, and what would a conference in Miami Beach be without a party? In addition to the dedicated exhibit hall hours and special presentations, you will want to plan to attend the Thallium Stallions concert Sunday June 10 at 8pm! Every year at the SNM annual meeting, BC Technical sponsors the Thallium Stallions in concert, which is the highlight of the entire conference for many. The Stallions are all current nuclear medicine professionals, physicians, and industry thought leaders turned rock stars for a night. They play their own brand of music: radioactive, metal rock and roll or “hot metal” (a cross between metal and old school rock and roll with a unique nuclear twist.)

The band features: Jack Ziffer, a radiologist, cardiologist and corporate Vice President with Miami Baptist Health Medical Group on saxophone; Ernie Garcia, developer of the Emory Cardiac Toolbox software package and renowned physicist at Emory University Medical Center also on saxophone; Howard “Specto” Lewin, specialist in PET imaging and a premier cardiologist from Los Angeles, CA on drums; Bob Cleary, University Chair of Nuclear Medicine at Keiser University on bass/vocals; Perry Collins, a long time nuclear medicine professional on the industry side on keyboard and lead vocals; John Felock, another long time nuclear medicine professional from the industry side on guitar/vocals; and Dwight Nicholson, nuclear medicine professional turned IT guru also on guitar/vocals.

“We are basically a party band that takes a lot of songs and adapts them to a nuclear medicine theme. We play during the [SNM Annual Meeting] every year. [Our concert] gives everyone a chance to let their hair down for a night and just have a good time. It seems like every luminary in the world is there—all the big names. They all want to see us become legends in our own minds,” Bob Cleary jokes. He adds, “We’ve got some extra special stuff planned for this year’s show!”

This concert will truly be a night to remember, so come enjoy drink specials, have your night documented by a complimentary party photographer, and lose yourself in the sound of the wild Thallium Stallions. You won’t want to miss this!

The Thallium Stallions will take the stage Sunday night of the conference (June 10, 2012) at 8pm at the beautiful Bâoli Miami restaurant. For more information and to pick up your commemorative wrist band forfree entry, be sure to visit BC Technical at booth 922 during exhibit hall hours Saturday and Sunday.
Thallium Stallions