What You Should Know About the CRA
By Kathryn Keeler
I’ve been CRA Certification Coordinator and staff liaison to the RACC since 2007. As part of a focus on the history of the CRA credential, 2016 RACC Chair Bruce Hammond asked me to write this month’s Link article. I’ve thought a lot about the different aspects of the CRA in preparation for this article and I’ve come up with a few things I’d like you to know.
Who Created the CRA and Why?
In the fall of 2000, with the help of a grant from Kodak (now Carestream), AHRA set about creating a certification program for imaging administrators. The idea was to codify and validate the unique skill set imaging managers bring to an organization. As J.D. Mace, the 2001 Chair of the CRA Feasibility Team said, “There is a diverse population of talented people in this profession, yet we have no way of evaluating them objectively. The CRA exam will give [Radiology Administrators] the benefit of proving they have attained a specific, measurable amount of knowledge.”1
RACC: You May Not Know What That Is, But You Should!
In a 2014 survey to CRAs, we included a question referencing “the RACC.” Along with the more expected responses were a handful asking what we meant by “RACC.” It was a good reminder that some of the things that have become second nature to me are not necessarily familiar to every CRA!
RACC is an acronym for Radiology Administration Certification Commission, which is the governing body of the CRA credential. The RACC consists of 6 CRAs and 1 non-CRA member who guide all aspects of the CRA exam and credential. The RACC is a separate and autonomous governing body from the AHRA Board, and their only concern is making decisions that are in the best interest of the CRA. Since 2009, the RACC has been joined by a liaison from the AHRA Board to facilitate communication and cooperation on items of mutual interest, but the RACC governs the CRA without influence from outside interests.
You may have met members of the RACC in the exhibit hall or at a reception at one of AHRA’s conferences, which is the “fun stuff.” But they also spend a good deal of time discussing whether the CRA policy continues to best serve the credential, determining what items the test should cover and how those should be addressed, reviewing exam items, and planning the best ways to spread the word about the CRA. While you may not know all of the RACC commissioners by name, every CRA has benefited from their dedication.
My Best Ideas Aren’t My Ideas
We are always working to improve the CRA program’s processes wherever possible, but the best improvements we’ve introduced almost always come from you, not me.
When I first started as CRA coordinator, a CRA called to ask if I could make the renewal form digital so CRAs could type in their CE instead of having to write it all in by hand. It was obviously a great suggestion, and we put the new form online the next day. You may also be aware that the CRA exam is reimbursable by the VA for military and veterans who have Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. We applied to the VA for eligibility because of an email from a veteran who was considering becoming a CRA asking us if we would.
Have you renewed your CRA yet using the “no tracking sheet required for AHRA CE” procedures we rolled out last year? We’ve received nothing but positive feedback since we made that option available, and it’s no wonder: CRAs had been suggesting it for some time. Once we had the new software that allowed us to make it happen, we were ready to hit the ground running with this popular change.
Of course, we can’t always make all suggested changes happen, but we’re happy to consider your suggestions and use them to improve things for all CRAs and CRA exam applicants whenever we can.
Why Be a CRA
A few months ago, AHRA staff discussed the power of belief statements: simple truths that explain why we do what we do and why it matters. I was inspired to put together my own belief statement about the CRA program:
I believe earning and maintaining the CRA is a statement that says an imaging administrator:
- Believes in themselves and their ability to learn, grow, improve, and attain excellence.
- Has met a high standard through their own knowledge, skills, abilities, and preparation.
- Values achievement and cares about setting a strong example of quality in their positions.
- Cares about their staff and their patients; it matters to them that their organization strives for excellence in all they do, and they are willing to lead the way.
I believe we are stronger when we work together, and with over 1100 CRAs and CRA-Retired, we lead the way in demonstrating that medical imaging management is a profession with a well-defined set of skills and knowledge required for excellence.
If you have any questions or want more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. The CRA is a terrific program and I’d love to tell you more about it!
1. Fiske H. Certified Radiology Administrator: Recognizing a Standard of Achievement. Radiol Today. 2002;3(15):10-11.
Kathryn Keeler is the CRA certification coordinator at AHRA. She can be reached at kkeeler@CRAinfo.org.