REQUIRE CERTIFICATION FOR TECHNICIANS WHO STERILIZE AND MAINTAIN HOSPITAL SURGICAL EQUIPMENT

By Bob Katzen

The Senate 39-0, approved and sent to the House a measure that requires standardized certification of an estimated 1,800 Bay State hospital technicians, by a nationally accredited organization, of hospital technicians who are responsible for ensuring that surgical instruments are safe and sanitary to protect patients from possible infection. The measure also requires the technicians to complete an annual continuing education curriculum. It was filed as a response to several high-profile incidents across the state in which surgical tools used in operations on patients may have been improperly disinfected.

Supporters said that technicians are currently allowed to work with a high school diploma or equivalent degree and without additional relevant training, despite being required to keep up to date with the latest practices for over 37,000 different surgical instruments.

“As a world leader in the healthcare industry, Massachusetts must maintain the highest standards of patient safety,” said sponsor Sen. Mike Rush (D-West Roxbury). “I’m proud of the work my colleagues in the Senate and I have done today to protect the citizens of the commonwealth as well as those who come from around the globe to seek treatment.”

“[These] technicians play an unseen but vital role for patients undergoing surgery,” said Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Senate chair of the Committee on Public Health. “They are responsible for ensuring that equipment and instruments used during surgical procedures are properly decontaminated, cleaned, inspected and sterilized prior to patient use. Every day, thousands of Bay Staters rely on them doing their job with perfection.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill).

Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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