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Lower Diagnostic Imaging Standards

Lompoc Valley Medical Center Imaging Department Is Not Accredited for MRI by the American College of Radiology
Lompoc Valley Medical Center Imaging Department Is Not Accredited for MRI by the American College of Radiology

 

The Lompoc Valley Medical Center Imaging Department has lower diagnostic imaging standards that often do not rise to the level required by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

ACR accreditation is considered to be the gold standard by the medical community.  Yet, the Lompoc Imaging Department has had limited success obtaining accreditation for its imaging tests.

  • Breast ultrasound  (Lompoc hospital not accredited)
  • Computed tomography (CT) (Lompoc hospital accredited)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (Lompoc hospital not accredited)
  • Mammography (Lompoc hospital accredited)
  • Nuclear medicine (Lompoc hospital not accredited)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) (Lompoc hospital not accredited)
  • Stereotactic breast biopsy (Lompoc hospital not accredited)
  • Ultrasound (Lompoc hospital not accredited)
  • Radiation oncology (Lompoc hospital not accredited)

Out of 9 categories, the Lompoc Imaging Department is accredited for only 2 categories.

Below is ACR’s description of its accreditation process.

“The American College of Radiology awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards after a peer-review evaluation of its practice. Image quality and procedure evaluations are conducted by board-certified radiologists and medical physicists who are experts in the field.

The program also evaluates personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs. All findings are reported to the practice via a comprehensive report that includes recommendations for improvement.

The Lompoc Valley Medical Center Imaging Department makes the following claim on its website:

Our cutting-edge imaging technology combined with highly trained professionals allows us to ensure that your doctor receives the most accurate and detailed information about your health, from head to toe.

Claiming that “your doctor receives the most accurate and detailed information” is disputable for tests where LMVC has failed to achieve ACR accreditation.

Fortunately, there are nearby imaging centers in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara where tests are accredited by the American College of Radiology. These facilities can be found using the ACR website that provides an accredited facility search function.

If you are seeking appropriate diagnosis and treatment for a serious or potentially life-threatening condition, it’s both wise and comforting to have an imaging test that meets the highest imaging standards in the U.S. — accreditation by the American College of Radiology.

An example of what can go wrong did go wrong for 4,000 women who had mammograms in Arlington, Texas. These mammograms were conducted under the banner of a healthcare district hospital, a political subdivision just like Lompoc hospital.

The American College of Radiology made the discovery at the JPS Medical Home Southeast Tarrant facility located in Arlington, Texas. The facility is part of the Tarrant County Hospital District.

The ACR surveyed a sample of 30 mammograms cases performed between May 2, 2015, and May 2, 2017, and reported that 18 of them “did not meet the ACR’s clinical image evaluation criteria and failed the AMR [Advanced Mammography Review] with deficiencies; some of which were severe,” according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. The hospital was fined  a mere $4,000 and many of the patients may have found it prudent to have another mammogram since their last one they had may have failed the ACR test.

 

 

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