B readers are physicians qualified to identify and classify pneumoconiosis on chest x-rays. NIOSH runs a national program of health surveillance for coal miners, which includes periodic chest x-ray exams to identify early interstitial lung disease; B readers classify chest x-rays for the presence and severity of pneumoconiosis.
Demand for B readers has increased, but the population of readers has not kept pace: In the mid-2000s there were nearly 400, and today there are only 165, the ACR said. The college plans to provide two courses to qualify at least 80 physicians to become certified B readers by August 2020. The first course will be held January 30 through February 1, 2020, and registration is now open.
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