About Us

Photo Our company was established in 1995 and has been responsible for providing outstanding medical physics consulting services ever since. NPC provides physics services in the areas of Nuclear Medicine, Radiology, Accreditation, and Health Physics. Our specialties are in the area of nuclear medicine, X-ray, and MRI, radiation safety, and regulatory compliance. Photo Our highly qualified and experienced full time consultants provide consulting services to hospitals, physician practices, imaging centers, and industrial clients. Our regular customers particularly value our professionalism, thoroughness, attention to detail, accessibility, and clear, concise reports. We currently provide routine services in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, S. Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. We have provided and will provide services to customers in other states Photo

If you are not familiar with our company and your first contact with us is online, we would be pleased to hear from you! Please let us know what your needs and questions are, we will be more than happy to help.            

Our Services

National Physics Consultants (NPC) is a regional consulting organization staffed by full-time professionals with over thirty years of experience in Nuclear Medicine and Radiology physics. NPC services both large and small medical facilities and non-medical facilities and has a proven track record of excellence.

 

Nuclear Medicine

NPC provides nuclear medicine services in the areas of Regulatory Compliance, Radiation Safety, Equipment Services, and Facility Operation Assistance.

 

Radiology Consulting

NPC provides radiology consulting services covering Radiation Safety, Regulatory Compliance, Certified Radiation Expert Services (Ohio Regulatory Requirement), Equipment QC and Acceptance Testing, Mammography QC, and MQSA Compliance, CT QC and Accreditation Support, MRI QC and Accreditation Support, Ultrasound QC and Accreditation Support, and Cone Beam CT QC.

 

Health Physics

NPC provides health physics services to commercial, research and veterinary facilities. NPC can assist with radioactive material use programs and with the use of radiation generating equipment.

 

Accreditation

NPC consultants are experts in helping our clients through the accreditation process. Currently the approved accrediting bodies are the American College of Radiology, The Joint Commission, and the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission.

Our Team


Click the right and left arrows below to see more.
Mitya Barreto Photo
Mitya Barreto
PHD

Curriculum Vitae

William Davros Photo
William Davros
PH.D.DABMP(D)

Bill attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan were he earned a B.A. in Physics. After Hope college Dr. Davros became interested in the applied physics of medical imaging and was directed to the emerging field of Medical Physics. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) and received his master degree and doctorate in Medical Physics. Dr. Davros' first job was as a design physicist for Radiation Measurements Incorporated (RMI). Later he went into academic work holding the rank of Assistant professor of radiology at Georgetown University. For 21 years Dr. Davros was at the Cleveland Clinic where he the founded the section of Diagnostic Imaging Physics. The last five years he has been senior member of the section. Dr. Davros retired from Cleveland Clinic in March of in 2014. He joined NPC in September of 2014.

Curriculum Vitae

Robert Kobistek Photo
Robert Kobistek
MS DABR®, MRSE(MRSC™)

Bob has been a medical physics consultant for over 20 years, and before that he worked in the industry of radiation measurement for 17 years as an engineer, product manager, staff physicist and calibration lab manager. Among his accomplishments is having worked on the development team that designed the first commercially-available digital instrument for noninvasive measurement of X-ray tube kilovoltage. Aside from consulting, Bob is also currently serving as a physicist reviewer for the mammography and MRI accreditation programs of the American College of Radiology. Bob is certified in diagnostic radiologic physics by the American Board of Radiology. Bob has also served on two AAPM committees.

Curriculum Vitae

Tommy Parsons Photo
Tommy Parsons
MS

Tommy has a Master of Science degree in Health Physics and over 14 years of experience in the healthcare industry. The majority of that time has been with Charleston Area Medical Center in the field of Nuclear Medicine. He has experience in managing the day-to-day operations of an outpatient PET/CT department including quality assurance, staff and student training, and regulatory compliance. His medical physics consulting experience includes diagnostic radiology, CT, and nuclear medicine.

Curriculum Vitae

Kelly Stoneberg Photo
Kelly Stoneberg
BS

Kelly has more than 18 years experience in a variety of areas in nuclear medicine and radiation safety. He has over 10 years of clinical experience and has worked in a radiopharmacy for six years. He has experience in management, radiopharmacy, regulatory compliance, education and quality assurance.

Curriculum Vitae


Get our credentials Click this button to access all our credentials. This is especially helpful for those mammo techs during an inspection! You will be directed to our cloud service where you can download or view all physicist CEU's and continuing experience.

News

Sharon thank you for your 24 years of service to NPC!

NPC has hired a new consultant, Mitya Barreto. We are excited to bring her talents to NPC and look forward to having her work at your site. Click here to check out Mitya's bio.

NPC has just hired a new consultant, Tommy Parsons. Tommy is based in Hurricane, West Virginia where he'll be positioned to improve accessibility to our numerous West Virginia Clients. He will also help us out in Ohio and other areas. Click here to check out Tommy's info.

Adam Springer joined our company eight years ago as a junior physicist. Since then, he passed the boards and made a significant contribution to NPC and our clients. Now he's heading to Lousianna to be near family. We are very sad about his departure, but we wish him luck.
On December 31, 2016, Dave Close, an NPC partner and consultant, will be hanging up his survey meter and enjoying a life of leisure. Dave was a founding member of NPC in 1995 and has been instrumental in the formation and growth of our company. Aside from managing and growing NPC over the years, we have all known and appreciated Dave in his role as nuclear medicine physicist / consultant to numerous clients in several states. Dave will be missed by us all.

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Daveid Hoeprich to NPC as our newest physicist / consultant. Click here to read all about him!

Yes FINALLY! The ACR has published its Digital mammography QC manual (but you can't start using it until 2017). The site can opt to use the new ACR QC manual or continue to use the manufacturer's manual.

The manual is being provided free of charge to accredited sites by the ACR.  For more information visit the ACR website.

NPC endorses the use of the ACR manual, however it would require the site to purchase a new phantom.  In some cases, using the new manual would result in less time spent by the technologist on routine QC, and in all cases, the amount of time spent by the physicist on QC would be reduced.  NPC will reduce its physicist fees for sites using the new manual.  Talk to or Email Bob Kobistek for more information about this.

For several years now, the ACR has been promising a one-size-fits-all QC program for digital mammography similar to the QC program developed in 1994 and revised in 1999 for screen-film mammography. Although the manual has not been published yet, the FDA has paved the way for its use by publishing an alternative standard permitting use of the new manual. Click here to view the FDA Alternative Standard.
On January 1, 2016, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement will be reduced for any CT study performed on scanners not meeting the NEMA XR-29 standard . The ACR has published a very useful FAQ document to help you understand the requirements. Click here to access the FAQ.
Please join us in welcoming NPC's newest team member, Khushnood (Kush) Hamdani. Click here to read all about him.
Good news for all mamm techs and physicists! No more printers, printer QC, or buying film only to perform printer QC. Finally after many years of having to maintain a mammo printer for no purpose other than to do QC on the printer, the FDA has eliminated the requirement. You can now shut down your printers and sell them on Ebay! But if you do keep your printer running so you can print any kind of mammo film, you must continue performing QC. See this link for more information: http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/MammographyQualityStandardsActandProgram/FacilityScorecard/ucm473469.htm

Satisfied Customers

Just like anybody else, we at NPC like to hear people say good things about us. Are you a happy customer who would like to let us know we did a good job? Or a bad job? Did a particular NPC employee do something that impressed you? If so, please visit our Feedback page and let us know. We’ll publish the good ones below! Read what our customers have to say about us:

  • Lee Ann Smarkel

    Blanchard Valley Hospital
    Findlay, Ohio
    I've been a customer of NPC for several years and I'd like to compliment the excellent job that they do. NPC goes to great lengths to make sure that my consulting needs are met on a timely basis and I've always been satisfied with both their work and professional demeanor. One aspect of NPC that is of particular use to me is the website. Everything I need to have access to is located online in one convenient place including reports, physicist credentials and any forms that I may need. The NPC website has been very beneficial during inspections! Great job NPC!
  • Mark Brall

    Director
    Medical Imaging
    Northside Medical Center
    Youngstown, Ohio

    I've been a customer of NPC for several years and I'd like to compliment the excellent job that they do. NPC goes to great lengths to make sure that my consulting needs are met on a timely basis and I've always been satisfied with both their work and professional demeanor. One aspect of NPC that is of particular use to me is the website. Everything I need to have access to is located online in one convenient place including reports, physicist credentials and any forms that I may need. The NPC website has been very beneficial during inspections! Great job NPC!

  • Judy Burnworth

    RTN, RSO
    Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center
    Cambridge, Ohio

    National Physics Consultants is a great group, they not only offer a service, but they become friends. When a question arises, all you have to do is call, they are happy to assist. Sharon always has the answer. NPC helps me feel comfortable, knowing my day to day operations are compliant with all current regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Accreditation (all modalities)

The short answer is: Call your NPC consultant! For nuclear medicine or PET accreditation, contact Dave Close or Sharon Long. For CT, MRI, breast MRI, mammography ultrasound, breast ultrasound, or stereotactic breast biopsy accreditation, contact Bob Kobistek.

You should also visit the website of the accrediting body, the American College of Radiology, The Joint Commission, or the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. For ACR accreditations, you should download the program requirements documents and read them over. There are also clinical imaging guides which you should eventually also read. Be sure to contact your NPC representative early in the process. We need to schedule visits for phantom imaging, and we can help answer your questions along the way.

Direct links to the ACR Program Requirements Documents are as follows:

No. The requirements apply only to freestanding imaging centers. Off site hospital-based imaging centers are also exempt if they bill through the hospital for the technical component of the exam. For more detailed information, visit the ACR website FAQ's
CMS has approved three organizations to provide accreditation services to comply with the MIPPA requirements. These are the American College of Radiology (ACR), The Joint Commission (TJC), and the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission.
For starters, the accreditation programs involve not just the equipment and image quality, but also personnel qualifications, policies and procedures, quality assurance, etc. Taken together these requirements involve not only the equipment, but the radiologists and the facility as well. So unless the mobile company provides complete turnkey service, including image reading, billing, quality assurance, etc., the responsibility for accreditation falls on the facility. In addition, the accreditation requirements of the MIPPA fall on the entity who bills Medicare, which in most cases would be the facility, not the mobile company.
Yes. I won't go into the details of the mammography program, because it's known by the mammography techs all too well. The MRI accreditation program has had a QC manual available since the early 2000's, and the first revision of the CT QC manual was made available on December 1, 2012. Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Accreditation Program also has a manual available. These manuals are available from the ACR. Nuclear Medicine and Ultrasound also require QC, however there is no manual. QC requirements are listed briefly in the Program Requirements, also available on teh ACR website. NPC customers, of course, can count on their consultant to assist.
An NPC consultant contacted the ACR and learned that the ACR recommends retaining QC records for one year. However NPC cautions the facility to also keep in mind the requirements of other organizations and regulators who may require longer retention times. For example, state inspectors may visit the facility at intervals ranging from 2 to 5 years depending on the type of facility and the state in which it is located. The inspector will want to see the records accumulated between inspections. Also, the FDA and ACR have different requirements for mammography QC record retention: Records must be retained between inspections or until each test has been performed 2 times, whichever is longer. But again, also remember that physicists need to see the records as well, so do not throw out records after your MQSA inspection until the physicist has seen them as well.

Mammography

No. In the fall of 2010, the popular TV doc, Mehmet Oz, aired a program in which he recommended to his viewers that they request thyroid shields be provided during screening mammography examinations. This is an erroneous recommendation and not based on scientific fact. The radiation dose to the thyroid from scatter and tube leakage during a mammography exam is less than 0.005 mGy. The presence of a thyroid shield could also cause image artifacts. In April 2011, the ACR and the SBI published a joint statement on the use of thyroid shields during mammography, which you can access with this link.
The most common oversights in the installation of new FFDM units relate to the hard-copy printer. Since the radiologists read mammograms on the soft copy workstations, it's common for facilities to consider of the printer as an afterthought. (See FAQ on this subject). Other items to remember:
  • As in all mammography installations, everything has to pass before the physicist can provide a report to the ACR. Unlike the annual physicist survey, the testing performed after installation (called a Mammography Equipment Evaluation or MEE) does not allow for the 30 day margin in correcting deficiencies. All deficiencies must be corrected before the unit may be used clinically.
  • Be sure all connectivity is enabled. The physicist must not only test the FFDM unit but also the radiologist viewing stations and the printer.
  • If remote viewing stations are being installed, be sure arrangements can be made to have the physicist visit the various sites.
  • Be sure the physicist has access to all pertinent QC manuals -- from the FFDM manufacturer, the soft copy workstation manufacturer and also from the printer manufacturer. Your physicist may request copies of these manuals in advance of the acceptance test in the event he is not familiar with the particular model.
Yes you need a printer. MQSA regulations require it. The printer does not necessarily have to be located at your facility, but you need to have ready access to it if it is located at another location. The printer has to be able to provide diagnostic quality images and must be QC'ed as required by the printer manufacturer and the FFDM manufacturer. And here's the most important point: The printer must pass the physicist testing before the FFDM unit can be placed into service, even if you do not plan to print mammograms right away. Be sure to have your installing engineer test the printer for artifacts and run a SMPTE pattern to test for gray scale calibration.
You must maintain QC records for all printers that you do print to, not all those that you can print to. For example, assume there are 5 mammography facilities within your group, each facility has a printer, and all are linked via a data network. If Facility 1rints its own films, but occasionally has Facility 2 print films for patients examined at Facility 1, then Facility 1 must maintain records for its own printer and that of facility 2. Facility 1 need not maintain records for facilities 3, 4, and 5.

Computed Tomography

Effective April 15, 2009, new ODH regulations require any facility who provides CT services to develop an ALARA program for CT patients. The program must be developed in cooperation with a radiation expert (medical physicist) and must be reviewed annually. That's about all the regulation says; there is not much detail, and they have not released any regulatory guidance. At this time, NPC is assisting all our CT clients with developing and maintaining the ALARA program and performing annual reviews. As our CT facilities experience ODH inspections and we gather comments from inspectors, we will continue to relay what we've learned about ODH's expectations to our clients.
The flexible, disposable, commercially available shields are placed over the breasts, thyroid, or eyes to reduce the organ dose to the specific region. Whether or not they are effective vs. simply reducing the mAs per rotation is still being debated. Of course there is a degradation in image quality, as will always be the case when radiation dose is reduced. Some researchers claim that the image quality degradation is acceptable and a worthwhile tradeoff when dose reduction is considered. Other researchers point out that although the shields attenuate the primary beam when the tube is in the anterior position, when the tube is in the posterior position, the shields attenuate radiation that has already contributed to patient dose and contains useful image information. Therefore it might be better and less expensive to reduce dose by reducing the technique or using tube current modulation. The AAPM is currently working on a position statement on the use of these shields, and NPC will post it as soon as it becomes available.

MRI

A small air bubble isn't a problem. The most obvious drawback of a bubble is that once the bubble becomes large enough, you can no longer see the top of the phantom. This prevents you from measuring the phantom diameter on slice # 5 from the top to the bottom. However, unless the bubble is huge, you can do what the ACR reviewers do. You just measure the diameter of the phantom slightly to left or the right of top dead center. Start drawing the line on the edge of the water-filled part of the phantom, avoiding the bubble. Finish the measurement on the opposite side of the phantom making sure the measurement line passes through the center of the grid. However, if the bubble becomes very large, we recommend you have the phantom refilled or topped off.
The manufacturer, JM Specialty Parts, can refill the phantom for you. Call them at 858-794-7200 for instructions on shipping the phantom.
Yes. It is very easy to top of the phantom using a syringe and distilled water. There is a commercially available refill kit. NPC does not recommend purchasing this kit. The kit costs over $200 and consists of nothing more than a few ml of distilled water and two syringes. We are currently working on written instructions on how you can top off the phantom using distilled water and a syringe. As soon as we finish these instructions they will be posted on this website. Meanwhile, if you are an NPC customer, you can call Bob Kobistek at 888-456-5255 if you need assistance with topping off your phantom. But if you'd like to give it a try, here's what you do: Set the phantom on the table with the inferior end up. Use a 5/16" nutdriver and remove the nylon plug. There are two plugs. One opens up the captive cylinder inside the phantom, which contains solution with a higher concentration of nickel ions. Do not remove that plug -- remove the other one. Tilt the phantom so the air bubble comes up to the fill opening. Use a syringe filled with distilled water to top off the phantom. I find that using a syringe with a hypodermic needle works great because you can inject the water below the surface and avoid having it bubble up and out of the phantom. When you are finished filling the phantom replace the plug and tighten gently. Over tightening will cause the plug threads to strip.

Nuclear Medicine

As a service to our customers we want to be sure everyone is aware of a couple of the ACR requirements for accreditation. This is from the ACR Nuclear Medicine/PET Accreditation Program Requirements, 2/6/13.

"A physics survey must be performed on each Gamma Camera or PET unit at least annually." This includes the annual camera QC tests and the annual phantom scans for both routine nuclear medicine and/or PET. All test data must be sent to a qualified medical physicist for review and report preparation. Further, "the qualified practicing medical physicist should meet with the supervising physician and the QC technologist to review the results of the survey and the effectiveness of the technologist QC program, and to recommend any corrective action or repairs that are needed." NPC will be adding signature lines for the physician and the appropriate technologist in our reports to verify that all involved are aware of the test results. For you information" The supervising physician is responsible for assuring compliance with the recommendations of the medical physicist."

Also, the ACR requires semi-annual QC testing with the SPECT/PET phantom. "At this time, the ACR strongly recommends quarterly testing of each system with an appropriate phantom in addition to other tests recommended by the vendor. At a minimum, testing with the appropriate phantom must be performed semi-annually." This requires that the phantom is imaged and evaluated. The evaluation can be by the technologist.

NPC offers programs for either information review and report preparation or on site annual ACR testing. If you would like to change any of your current programs, contact your consultant.

Contact Us

Contact us by phone at (888) 456-5255, or use the form below to send a message to NPC. We recommend you use this feature for inquiries about our company, services, etc. Existing customers who need to contact their consultant should email the consultant directly or use the form below since that will permit us to respond more quickly.


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