August 12, 2021
Earlier this year, Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez introduced A.B 1273, Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship: the Director of Consumer Affairs and the State Public Health Officer. Our SNMMI-TS Advocacy Committee acted quickly and submitted an opposition letter prior to the public hearing before the Senate Health Committee. This harmful piece of legislation is now up for a (Senate) floor vote, so we are calling our members to act quickly to oppose it.
The bill would:
- Prohibit the Department of Consumer Affairs and its various boards from prohibiting or approving an accrediting program that prohibits earn and learn programs for training in a profession licensed or certified by the board.
- Prohibit the State Department of Public Health from prohibiting earn and learn programs for training of personnel.
- Require boards of the Department of Consumer Affairs and the State Department of Public Health to use licensing or certification standards that authorize the use of earn and learn trainings.
- Safety risks for patients: Educational programs require extensive didactic education in the fundamentals of nuclear medicine, radiation biology, radiopharmaceuticals, and radiation physics. Additionally, clinical competency requirements must be successfully completed under the direct supervision of a qualified NMT. It would be extremely challenging to meet all of these educational requirements via an apprenticeship model, which would lack professional oversight.
- Liability and labor issues for students: The bill is silent as to who would be paying student wages. If the programs pay, they are likely to increase tuition, resulting in no net benefit to students. If the healthcare facilities pay, they are likely to reduce their student intake and fluidity of their clinical rotations. Some facilities may choose not to accept students.
- Closure of 3 California nuclear medicine accreditation programs: California has three programmatically accredited nuclear medicine programs, which will have to withdraw from JRCNMT accreditation if AB 1273 is accepted into law, as the JRCNMT does not allow students to be paid for services as a nuclear medicine technologist while enrolled in an NMT educational program. This policy guarantees that students are not taking the place of qualified staff and are appropriately supervised during clinical education. Additionally, this prevents the risk of liability to the medical facilities due to unqualified individuals performing nuclear medicine/therapeutic patient procedures. The student is there to learn, but when you add a wage to the student it changes the atmosphere, pressure, and expectation that is put on that student.
- Restricting students from obtaining work outside California: California nuclear medicine students would no longer be able to take the NMTCB national certification board and will have trouble being hired in any other state to practice nuclear medicine technology.
What you can do
If you reside in California, please call or email your state Senator to oppose the bill. You may find a customizable template letter here which will be sent directly to your Senator. Additionally, a list of members on the Senate Health Committee (with their contact information) may be found here.