Under the pressure of a lawsuit, the Health and Human Services Department has agreed to implement a 1981 law that ordered it to publish standards for the training and certification of persons other than doctors and dentists who administer X-rays.

The law, pushed through Congress by then-senator Jennings Randolph (D-W.Va.), was designed to protect patients from overexposure and other health risks from X-rays.

The law required HHS to publish the standards within a year of the bill's enactment, and to publish a model state statute, but the department never did. In 1983 it published a proposed regulation, but never made it final, and last July 29 it asked Congress to repeal the law.

The American Society of Radiation Technologists sued the department in federal court here last summer, seeking to force it to carry out the law.

On Oct. 11, the department notified Judge Harold H. Greene that it would agree to publish the standards and the model statute by Dec. 16. Four days later, Greene signed a stipulation to that effect.

Meanwhile, Congress has rebuffed the department's request that it repeal the 1981 law. A bill proposed by HHS to make a number of changes in health laws was enacted, but it did not repeal the X-ray provisions.