|(a) General. (1) A hospital, federally qualified health center (FQHC) or practitioner may apply to the department for a hardship exemption from employing an MRT, LMRT, or NCT. (2) The applicant must demonstrate a hardship as described in subsection (b)(5) of this section in employing an MRT, LMRT, or NCT. (3) The applicant shall not allow a person who is not an MRT, LMRT, or NCT to perform a radiologic procedure until the department grants a hardship exemption. (4) A hardship exemption granted by the department does not constitute licensure, certification, registration, or authorization to perform a dangerous or hazardous radiologic procedure or mammography. (b) Required application materials. (1) The applicant must apply for a hardship on the forms prescribed by the department. The date of application shall be the date the application and application fee is postmarked. If there is no visible postmark, or if the application is hand-delivered, the application date shall be the date the department receives the application. (2) The application must be accompanied by documentation clearly indicating that the applicant is a licensed hospital, FQHC or licensed practitioner. A copy of the current hospital license, certificate of qualification issued to the FQHC, or current license of the practitioner shall be acceptable documentation. (3) If the application is from a hospital or FQHC, the administrator or chief executive officer of the hospital or FQHC must sign the application form. If the applicant is a practitioner, the practitioner must sign the application form. (4) The application must include a list of the person(s) performing radiologic procedures who is not an MRT, LMRT, or NCT. (5) The application shall be accompanied by one or more of the following: (A) if the applicant is unable to attract or retain an MRT or LMRT, a sworn affidavit describing the reasons the applicant is unable attract and retain an MRT or LMRT at a comparable salary for the area, the applicant's attempts to attract and retain an MRT or LMRT, evidence of recruiting efforts during the 30 day period prior to application for the hardship exemption, and copies of advertisements to hire an MRT or LMRT; (B) if the applicant is located more than 200 highway miles from the nearest school of medical radiologic technology approved in accordance with §140.509 of this title relating to (Standards for the Approval of Curricula and Instructors), a sworn affidavit describing in narrative form the physical address of the nearest school of medical radiologic technology; the physical address of the applicant hospital, FQHC, or primary practice location of the practitioner; and the actual distance in highway miles between the school and the applicant hospital, FQHC, or practitioner's primary practice. The applicant shall include a map of the area clearly indicating the locations of each entity; (C) if the nearest school of medical radiologic technology approved in accordance with §140.509 of this title has a waiting list of school applicants due to a lack of faculty or space, a sworn affidavit from the applicant indicating that admissions to the school are pending because of a lack of faculty or space; (D) if the applicant's need for graduates in medical radiologic technology exceeds the number of graduates from the nearest school of medical radiologic technology approved in accordance with §140.509 of this title, a sworn affidavit from the applicant indicating that the number of graduates from the nearest school does not meet the applicant's needs for radiologic technologists; (E) if emergency conditions have occurred during the 90 days prior to making application for the hardship exemption, a sworn affidavit from the applicant describing the emergency conditions, the hardship(s) the emergency conditions have created and how long the hardship(s) is anticipated to continue. For the purposes of this subparagraph, emergency conditions may include a disaster, epidemic, or other catastrophic event; (F) if the applicant uses only a hand-held fluoroscope with a maximum operating capability of 65 kilovolts and 1 milliampere, or a similar type of x-ray unit for imaging upper extremities only, at the location indicated on the application form and the applicant believes that the radiation produced by the radiographic equipment represents a minimal threat to the patient and the operator of the equipment, the following is required to be submitted: (i) a copy of the current certificate of registration for radiation machine issued by the department; and (ii) a sworn affidavit describing the equipment used; the types of radiographs performed; the training completed by the operator of the equipment within the 24-month period prior to application or reapplication for a hardship exemption; the date(s) the training was completed by the operator; the radiation safety measures taken for the patient, operator and others; the level or amount of supervision provided by an MRT or a practitioner(s) to the operator while performing the radiographic procedure; and the equipment manufacturer's specifications for the diagnostic radiographic equipment utilized at the location indicated on the application form, including the maximum operating capability. (6) All application materials and information are subject to verification by the department. (7) The department shall send a written notice listing the additional materials required to an applicant whose application is incomplete. An application not completed within 30 days after the date of the written notice shall be invalid unless the applicant has advised the department of a valid reason for the delay. (c) Application approval. (1) The department shall be responsible for reviewing all applications. The department shall approve any application which is in compliance with this section and which properly documents applicant eligibility. (2) If granted by the department, a letter of exemption shall be issued for a period of one year. (d) Disapproved applications. (1) The department shall disapprove the application if the applicant has not met the application requirements set out in this section or has failed or refused to complete or submit any form or documentation required by the department to verify the eligibility for the exemption. (2) If the department determines that the application should not be approved, the department shall give the applicant written notice of the reason for the disapproval. The applicant may appeal the decision to the department by submitting a written request within 10 days after receipt of the written notice of the reason(s) for the disapproval. (3) An applicant whose application has been disapproved under this subsection shall be permitted to reapply after a period of not less than one year from the date of the disapproval and shall submit a new application and supporting information. The applicant may reapply for an exemption any time the basis for the exemption application changes. (e) Application processing. The department shall use the same process as described in §140.506(e) of this title (relating to Application Requirements and Procedures For Examination and Certification), except the time periods are as follows: (1) letter of acceptance--30 working days; (2) letter of application deficiency--30 working days; (3) letter of approval--42 working days; and (4) letter of denial of exemption--42 working days. (f) Reapplication for hardship exemption. (1) The hospital, FQHC, or a practitioner must reapply annually for the exemption and meet the then current requirements for a hardship exemption. (2) A hospital, FQHC, or a practitioner who does not reapply for an exemption shall not allow a person to perform a radiologic procedure unless the person is a practitioner, MRT, LMRT, or NCT.