California Law Requires Radiation Dose Report

CURE, Winter 2012, Volume 11, Issue 4

California passes a law that will detail radiation doses in a patient’s medical record.

In an effort to monitor radiation exposure, California has passed a law that will detail doses in a patient’s medical record. Radiation from computed tomography (CT) scans is of concern as the use of CT as a diagnostic tool has increased over the past decades. Researchers estimate 1.5 to 2 percent of all cancers in the U.S. are the result of CT radiation overexposure.

Enacted on July 1, 2012, this legislation requires imaging facilities to record the dose of CT radiation in a patient’s medical record by logging it on the radiology report or by adding a protocol page with dose information. The law also requires facilities to report overdoses or other errors to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) within five days.

Sponsors hope this regulation will allow patients and their doctors to track radiation exposures in order to make informed decisions on future testing and possible unnecessary imaging.

A third provision of the law that commences on July 1, 2013, requires imaging facilities to be accredited by an organization approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an accrediting agency approved by the Medical Board of California or by the CDPH. The original bill was authored by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima).