Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital (SJMH) recently received a mammography certificate of compliance after a survey through the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA), conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This inspection is performed annually at SJMH.
Laura Lightner, SJMH’s registered mammography technologist has been providing this life-saving test since 1992 and has worked closely with the government agency to fulfill the requirements.
“I have quite a bit of experience in working with the agency with oversight,” explained Lightner. “This can be a very difficult process but the final result is that we know we are providing excellent care to all of our mammography patients. So the requirements may be difficult, but the positive outcome is for our patients’ benefits.”
MQSA became law in the early 1990s when Congress enacted it to ensure that all women have access to quality mammography for the detection of breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.
The regulations were developed by the FDA and the National Mammography Quality Assurance Advisory Committee and approved by President Bill Clinton. The following regulations are required of every mammography facility in the United States:
Physicians who interpret mammograms, radiologic technologists who perform mammography, and medical physicists who survey mammography equipment must have adequate training and experience.
Each mammography facility must have an effective quality control program and maintain thorough records.
Each facility must submit typical mammography images (x-rays) to the FDA for review. The FDA will evaluate the quality and amount of radiation used to obtain the images (radiation levels are required to be low).
Each mammography facility must develop systems for following up on mammograms that reveal abnormalities, and for obtaining biopsy results.
Each mammography facility must undergo yearly inspections by FDA or State certified inspectors.