July Advocacy Update: California Fluoroscopy Guidance

California fluoroscopy regulations were amended in 2019/20 with recognition of all professionals in the cath lab—here's the latest.

The pandemic has brought many changes to the healthcare landscape.  One of the most notable recognitions, however, is the fact that allied health professionals are nimble, can provide ongoing support, and are, indeed, ESSENTIAL!

Nowhere is this more true than in the cardiovascular cath lab.  While there are many roles and functions that are critical for care, cardiovascular professionals are able to provide support across a variety of functions.

ACVP Helped Secure California Fluoroscopy Amendment

California’s Title 17 was amended in 2019/2020 with recognition that all professionals should be able to provide support as directed by the cardiologist. Restrictions preventing full participation have been lifted – especially as it relates to California fluoroscopy.

Cardiovascular professionals are able to move the patient, or, for the purpose of re-centering the equipment to the area of clinical interest, move the equipment as long as they are not actuating the equipment to emit radiation; selecting the technique factors or mode of operation; or moving the c-arm or table while radiation is being emitted

It is worth noting that as long as the operator (cardiologist) maintains the necessary fluoroscopy permit and is making these determinations, the cardiovascular professional is able to support the work appropriately. 

The Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals supported professionals on the ground in California in securing this important amendment.

Knowledge is Power: Continuing to Advocate on the Ground

Please note—often professionals are impacted by State-level regulations via another party's interpretation or understanding of said regulations. This understanding can be incomplete or out-of-date, causing resolved issues to linger in practice. It is crucial to be equipped with this knowledge and to continue to advocate to ensure that all professionals and administrators understand this amendment.

It may also be important to remember that this amendment may be wrongly misunderstood as a relaxing of regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic—that is not entirely the case, as this amendment was discussed and secured from 2015 through to 2019, via California Department of Public Health committees, before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the health workforce. However, the pandemic does continue to illustrate its crucial importance.

Why This Amendment is Crucial, Beyond California Fluoroscopy

It is also always effective to continue to explain the amendment along with its rationales: it was fortunate this amendment was secured in California ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, when workforce shortages became an even more pressing issue.

There is a workforce shortage EVERYWHERE – it is not any anyone’s interest in restricting professionals from doing work for which they are trained, particularly where there has been no public harm demonstrated by full engagement.  The only way to alleviate shortages that impact both access and quality of care is to recognize the work of all professionals and encourage decision makers to employ professionals to reach the top of their credentials. 

In the case of CVTs, those that are credentialed or educated in formal programs have been trained to perform all roles as directed by a physician in a cath lab. It is important to employ all participants that help ensure the team produces the strongest quality outcomes possible.

Let us know what YOUR hospital is doing and how your institution is complying with the updated regulations.  Should ACVP pursue legislation to fully engage and exempt cardiovascular professionals? 

Please let us know – respond to with information regarding what your institution is doing and how it is managing to support all team members in the cath lab!

Professional Growth for Cardiac Techs & Nurses: Interview with FACVP Ben Ochoa (Part Two)

COVID-19 may have forced cath lab education to evolve, as we discussed in part one of our interview, but Ben Ochoa, Program Director for Invasive Cardiovascular Technology and Cardiac Sonography Programs at St. Phillips College and a fellow of the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals (FACVP), believes our new normal presents opportunities for leaders to revolutionize the field. When it comes to professional growth for cardiac techs and nurses, there are more opportunities than ever—and ACVP can help.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to grow… to get this education out there. The opportunity, really, is to almost build a middle class,” Ochoa says. The magnitude of this concept wasn’t lost on Ochoa, as he expressed how much potential had been found in his program’s newfound relationship with virtual learning. Plus, COVID-19 has inspired more students to look into health careers.

Ochoa believes that the virtual classroom has widened the opportunity for upward mobility and for students to find unprecedented levels of availability, from new cardiovascular professionals to experienced professionals seeking next steps in their career. “Our skill sets, they level you up in a sense," says Ochoa. "We see folks in our position—techs, having more pathways to get into next level stuff.”

Continue reading Professional Growth for Cardiac Techs & Nurses: Interview with FACVP Ben Ochoa (Part Two)

Cath Lab Tech Education During COVID-19: Interview with FACVP Ben Ochoa (Part One)

Cath lab tech education during COVID-19 has been a challenge, but there’s a lot to be optimistic about says Ben Ochoa, Program Director for Invasive Cardiovascular Technology and Cardiac Sonography Programs at St. Phillips College and a fellow of the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals (FACVP). 

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he managed not to miss a beat in fulfilling the cath lab and sonography tech workforce development needs of the San Antonio area. “We have to be safe in what we do—we have to meet these challenges,” said Ochoa. “So, we get creative.”

Following the February 20 CVP Week CE event Ochoa helped ACVP to organize, he spoke with us about ACVP, the state of cardiovascular programs in the pandemic, and the evolution he sees taking place in cardiovascular care in general.

“A lot has changed since the pandemic,” said Ochoa. “[COVID-19] tests the structures you have in place and forces you to evolve to meet those challenges… It forces us to rethink how we get this information to people—how we hold our students accountable—how to work within the limitations that we have and take care of students all at the same time.” 

Realizing that digital learning was the key to helping students early on in the pandemic, Ochoa focused on finding great content resources and trimming the fat of the didactic process. “What do people really need to know?” he asked. “There’s so much redundancy that we face in how things were, so it forces us to be different... We’re really optimizing the use of technology. It trims the fat, right? But you still get the beef.”

ACVP cath lab tech education (applicable to all cardiovascular professionals) via our virtual CE festivals was an important resource, says Ochoa, along with education and online tutorials from industry partners and other groups. “ACVP, putting out all this education—we’ve been able to get content flowing to our students without missing a beat. The answers are out there, we have the resources.”

Continue reading Cath Lab Tech Education During COVID-19: Interview with FACVP Ben Ochoa (Part One)

Cardiovascular Education During COVID-19

LaToya Payton, Program & Clinical Coordinator for Dallas College’s School of Health Sciences

In celebration of Cardiovascular Professionals Week, we interviewed LaToya Payton, the Program & Clinical Coordinator for Dallas College’s School of Health Sciences, to understand what she and her colleagues at Dallas College have done over the past several months to continue delivering cardiovascular education during COVID-19.

Her responses perfectly illustrate our theme for CVP Week 2021—cardiovascular professionals (and educators!) don't miss a beat.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the healthcare community in innumerable ways, from the “big picture” structure and function of our organizations, down to the minutiae of individual roles, responsibilities, and expectations within our institutions.

As we continue to conquer the hurdles set before us by COVID-19, taking note of what works and what doesn’t along the way, it is important that we consider the lessons and impact of the pandemic not only on our current practice, but in terms of how this period will inform our work in the years to come.

It is no surprise that in addition to care-delivering organizations, educational institutions have had an extremely difficult time adjusting to the pandemic, as physical distancing and other safety requirements have thrown a wrench into the scheduling of clinical learning opportunities, and the in-person instruction that is so critical to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals.

LaToya Payton’s responses were instructive for a number of reasons, not least of which is that they emphasized the centrality of information-sharing as we continue our fight against the SARS-COV-2 virus, and the importance of taking a flexible, collaborative approach to our shared challenges and to cardiovascular education during COVID-19.

Interview: Cardiovascular Education during COVID-19

Below you can find a written record of our conversation with LaToya Payton, along with some additional notes and resources, which might be useful to professional educators, students, and also those currently working in the field.

We have taken the liberty of expounding on the topics, ideas, and potential solutions she points to for finding new ways to deliver necessary knowledge and pursue team-based collaboration amidst the pandemic. Our notes/resources are added in the bullet points below each of LaToya Payton’s answers.

Continue reading Cardiovascular Education During COVID-19