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  • Legislative News

    AST drives legislative initiatives to forward the profession of surgical technology. Featured news regarding surgical technology initiatives as well as information about new surgical technology laws, pending legislation, legislative reports and featured grassroots stories will be showcased.    

  • New bill would require background checks for surgical techs after health scare at Swedish

    March 15, 2016

    Denver 7 ABC, Jennifer Kovaleski

    DENVER - Two state lawmakers are sponsoring legislation they say will increase patient safety and hopefully, prevent another massive health scare like the one at Swedish Medical Center that put thousands at risk of HIV and hepatitis B and C.

    Former Swedish Surgical Tech, Rocky Allen, is accused of stealing a syringe of the powerful painkiller Fentanyl from an operating room and replacing it with another one.

    "You're always going to have somebody who's going to figure out how to game a system, but we still need to try to continue to find out where are holes are," said Rep. Susan Lontine D-Denver.

    "I think it's a great step forward," said Rep. Joann Ginal D-Fort Collins.

    The new amended bill makes fingerprint checks and FBI background checks mandatory for all new surgical techs. The background checks would be conducted by the state and would be required in order to register with the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and seek employment. Hospitals would also be required to report any positive drugs tests from new employees to the state.

    "We need to make sure that when you are at your most vulnerable, unable to have any control over the situation that you should be protected," said Rep. Lontine, HB-16-1160 passed committee Tuesday with a 10-3 vote.

    Currently, surgical technologists and surgical assistants are only required to register with DORA and self-report bad behavior. The law was passed in 2010 after a surgical tech Kristen Parker swapped out a Fentanyl syringe at Rose Medical Center and infected numerous patients with hepatitis C. However, Allen was able to game the current system by lying about his previous employment and long history of drug abuse at three other hospitals in California and Arizona. 

    Following Allen's case, lawmakers said they saw the need to strengthen the current regulations that were up for a sunset review. 

    "Having Mr. Allen's case come up when it did highlighted the need and allowed us to add those extra protections," said Rep. Lontine. Rep. Lontine said she hopes the new stricter regulations will help prevent someone like Allen from slipping through the cracks. "In the Rocky Allen situation he actually was reported to the DEA in California, but nobody here knew anything about that."

    "I believe that this will help, requiring background checks could have prevented Rocky Allen," said Holly Falcon, Vice President of the Association of Surgical Technologists.

    A surgical tech herself, Falcon said she's seen firsthand the need for greater regulation and called the bill a step in the right direction.

    "I have been hired in the position as a surgical technologist without a drug screen or a background check," she said.

    Those who opposed the bill brought up concerns about the fact that DORA has recommended against keeping the registry for surgical techs - calling it duplicative to information hospitals are already collecting.

    HB-16-1160 will now go to the full house for a vote. 

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/new-bill-would-require-background-checks-for-surgical-techs-after-health-scare-at-swedish


    Virginia Governor Signs House Bill 738 Into Law

    March 1, 2016

    The legislation was introduced by Delegate T. Scott Garrett, MD, to extend the grandfathering date.  Prior to the legislation's passage, only Certified Surgical Technologists, certified through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, could register with the Virginia Department of Health Professions as surgical technologists. Similarly, only certified surgical assistants, certified as Certified Surgical First Assistants or Certified Surgical Assistants, could register as surgical assistants with the Virginia Department of Health Professions as surgical assistants. Since many Virginia hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers are requiring all surgical technologists and surgical assistants to be registered, Delegate Garrett wanted to extend the grandfathering date. Uncertified surgical technologists and surgical assistants now have until December 31, 2016, to register with the Virginia Department of Health Professions. House Bill 738 passed the House in January, the Senate in February and was signed by Governor McAuliffe on March 1, 2016. The legislation is effective July 1, 2016.


    Surgical tech's case exposes multiple failings in patient protections

    February 28, 2016

    David Olinger and Christopher Osher

    http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29571484/surgical-techs-case-exposes-multiple-failings-patient-protections?source=top_stories_ba


    Lawmakers want to toughen laws after a former Swedish surgical technologist put thousands at risk

    February 25, 2016

    Denver 7 ABC, Jennifer Kovaleski

    Video: Watch now

    Colorado Bill Channel 7DENVER - Colorado lawmakers are looking to strengthen laws after a former Swedish Medical Center surgical technologist put thousands of patients at risk.

    Rocky Allen, 28, is accused of swapping out a syringe of the powerful narcotic Fentanyl and replacing it with another syringe. 

    Swedish fired Allen in January and asked nearly three thousands patients who had surgery while he worked there to get tested for HIV and hepatitis.

    Allen's days in the operating room may be over, but with a long history of drug abuse at three other hospitals, two in Arizona and one in California , questions are now swirling about why he was ever able to find work in Colorado.

    "It is a wake-up call," said Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins.

    Current laws in Colorado requires surgical technologists and assistants to register with the state and self-report bad behavior. 

    In Allen's case, Denver7 found Allen lied about previous employers and drug abuse problems on his state registration.

    "You can't fix it so it'll be full proof, but we've got to make this a stronger bill so that people like Rocky Allen cannot get through the system as easily as he did," said Rep. Ginal.

    Ginal is sponsoring a bill that will keep Colorado's current regulations in place. She is also considering amendments that would strengthen the bill.

    "Should we go higher? That's in discussion - should we go to a certification? - again further discussion is needed," she said.

    The law originally passed in 2010 after a surgical tech swapped out a Fentanyl syringe at Rose Medical Center and infected numerous patients with hepatitis C.

    The bill is up for a sunset review at the Capitol and could go off the books.

    "The original bill was supposed to prevent something like this from happening, it failed -- does the regulation need to go further?" asked Denver7 Reporter Jennifer Kovaleski.

    "We're in talks right now in regards to how much further we need to go," answered Rep. Ginal.

    She said one thing being considered to make the law tougher is adding accountability to the information surgical techs are required to report. Right now, there is none.

    "It's self-reporting to DORA and who is going to self-report that they have substance or drug abuse or an alcohol issue?" asked Ginal.

    Nine other states also require certification and education requirements for surgical technologists. 

    Rep. Ginal said that option is not off the table.

    The national Association of Surgical Technologists also supports more regulation. 

    A new version of House Bill 1160, with stronger amendment, is set to be introduced in committee on March 15. 


    Oregon Health Authority Issues Surgical Technologist Law Rules

    February 24, 2016

    In 2015, the Oregon legislature passed a bill into law requiring education and certification for surgical technologists, effective July 1, 2016.  The legislation grandfathers in certain individuals and military graduates; however, these uncertified individuals who may practice surgical technology must earn continuing education to remain eligible to work as a surgical technologist.  The law states:

    "A health care facility may not allow a person to practice surgical technology at the health care facility unless the person:

    Education and Certification

    (A) Provides the health care facility with documentation showing that the person has completed an educational program for surgical technologists accredited by a national accreditation organization approved by the Oregon Health Authority by rule; and

    (B) Holds and maintains a surgical technologist certification issued by a nationally accredited certifying organization for surgical technologists approved by the authority by rule;

    Completed US Military Surgical Technologist Training Program

    (A) Provides the health care facility with documentation showing that the person has completed a training program for surgical technologists in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard of the United States or in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps; and

    (B) Every two years completes 16 hours of continuing education approved by the authority; or

    Grandfathering

    (A) Provides the health care facility with documentation showing that the person practiced surgical technology during at least two of the three years immediately preceding January 1, 2017:

    (i) In a health care facility in Oregon or in another state; or

    (ii) As an employee of an agency or institution of the federal government; and

    (B) Every two years completes 16 hours of continuing education approved by the authority."

    The Oregon Health Authority has defined in rule the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) as the educational accrediting organizations.  The Association of Surgical Technologists endorses only CAAHEP.  The Oregon Health Authority has approved one certification by rule, the Certified Surgical Technologist certification conferred by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).  

    The Oregon surgical technologist education and certification law will start to go into effect in 2016.  The first effective date is July 1, 2016.

    Individuals with a current CST from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) are EXEMPT from the additional CE requirements.  Individuals with a current Certified Surgical Technologist credential from the NBSTSA should still earn continuing education per NBSTSA policy to maintain their national CST certification through the NSBTSA; however, the state law-based Oregon continuing education requirement only applies to individuals without the CST who otherwise qualify to work as a surgical technologist under the law, e.g., they are grandfathered or a military program graduate.  

    The Oregon Health Authority has approved the following CE for uncertified individuals:

    (a) The continuing education requirements described in subsections (7)(a) and (7)(c) shall:

          (A) Consist of 16 hours every two years;

          (B) Be tracked by the surgical technologist and is subject to audit by the hospital or ASC in which the person is practicing; and

          (C) Be relevant to the medical-surgical practice of surgical technology.  

    (b) Continuing education may include but is not limited to:

          (A) Continuing education credits approved by the Association for Surgical Technologists;

          (B) Healthcare sponsored conferences, forums, seminars, symposiums or workshops;

          (C) Online distance learning courses;

          (D) Live lectures at national conferences; or

          (E) College courses.  

     A hospital or ASC shall conduct a random audit of a representative sample of the surgical technologists employed by the hospital or ASC every two years to verify compliance with educational requirements. 

    The requirements identified in this section become effective on July 1, 2016. 


    Surgical Technologists Call for More Regulation

    February 24, 2016

    9 News Colorado, Victoria Sanchez

    Video: Watch now

    Colorado Legislation MediaKUSA - The National Association of Surgical Technologists is calling for more regulation for their profession.

    The vice president of the voluntary organization said the case of the former Swedish Medical Center employee who potentially exposed thousands of patients to blood-borne illnesses, is the most recent example of why stricter rules are needed.

    The national group is based in Littleton and has 38,000 members.

    "We're in the operating room and we're the face behind the mask," said Holly Falcon, vice president of the Association of Surgical Technologists.

    Falcon said she was upset to hear Rocky Allen, a fellow tech, was charged with stealing drugs and allegedly putting 2,900 Swedish patients at risk for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

    "It just goes against everything that we stand for. It just goes against everything that we're taught as a surgical technologist to keep the patient first," she said.

    Federal prosecutors said Allen has a "blood borne pathogen" and used his position at hospitals in four states to get his hands on the pain killer fentanyl.

    Falcon said there are few rules for surgical technologists which is how Allen was able to cross state lines for new operating room positions despite getting fired at previous hospitals.

    "If Rocky Allen would have been a nurse or he would have been a physician’s assistant, he would have lost his license and therefore would not be allowed to work anywhere in the United States again. However because we don't have that accountability in place for surgical technologists, these things can happen and surgical technologists can still work in the operating room," she said.

    There is a Colorado law that will sunset this summer that mandates surgical technologists to register with the state. Unless it's continued, there will be no required professional registration.

    The association is fighting to keep the registration and increase rules such as mandatory certification.

    "We have big responsibilities in the operating room and to know that it's not mandated that we have a particular level of education or certification required to work is kind of scary," said Falcon.

    House Bill 16-1160 is currently in the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee.


    Stronger oversight of Colorado's surgical technologists under consideration after contamination

    February 23, 2016

    Denver Post, David Olinger

    A legislative hearing on state regulation of surgical technologists has been postponed to consider stronger oversight.

    Colorado enacted regulatory standards for surgical technologists in 2010 after Kristen Parker infected at least 18 people  with hepatitis by stealing liquid painkillers and leaving behind dirty needles.

    That law is set to expire this year unless legislators vote to extend or amend it.

    A hearing was scheduled Wednesday before the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee, but it was called off.

    The state Department of Regulatory Agencies favored "sunsetting" the law as duplicative of hospital and federal oversight. But that was before another surgical technologist, Rocky Allen, was fired by Swedish Medical Center last month and charged with fentanyl theft.

    Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, who leads the committee, said members want to consider legislation that would improve oversight of hospital workers with access to narcotic drugs.

    That could include "background checks, better sharing of data," she said. "Why isn't there more information available? Why aren't hospitals sharing information when someone is let go for this kind of behavior?"

    McCann expects the hearing to be scheduled in about two weeks.

    In the meantime, "we're going to be talking to health care facilities about some amendments whose goal would be to prevent another such occurrence," said Diana Protopapa, a lobbyist for surgical technologists and surgical assistants.

    She said those facilities include hospitals and surgery centers.

    Swedish and three hospitals in California and Arizona where Allen previously worked have offered free blood tests to nearly 5,000 surgery patients for HIV and hepatitis. Allen also worked in Washington state.

    A federal court hearing Friday disclosed that Allen carries an unspecified bloodborne pathogen.

    Colorado's association of surgical technologists favors stronger state regulation. In the current program, the state does not perform background checks or verify applicants' information, and disciplinary actions have been rare. 


    Debate Surrounds Renewal of State Registry for Surgical Technologists

    February 18, 2016

    CBS 4 Denver, Karen Morfitt

    Video: Watch now

    Colorado Legislation Media Ch4DENVER (CBS4) – As the investigation into former surgical technologist  Rocky Allen is building steam, a Colorado law designed to strengthen regulations for that position is set to expire.

    Allen is accused of stealing syringes at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood and appeared in a federal courtroom in Denver on Friday morning.

    Since 2010, surgical technicians have been required to register with the state. That’s a law that was put into place after former Rose Medical Center http://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png operating room technician Kristen Parker infected approximately 30 patients with hepatitis C.

    State Rep. Susan Lontine, a Democrat who represents Denver, says the goal then was to create a state database where hospitals http://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png can review a person’s history before hiring them.

    “Without a registry, we don’t have any way to track when these people are let go because of these circumstances and we don’t have any way for future employers to know this is what happened and this is why this person shouldn’t continue to work in this field,” Lontine told CBS4.

    A recent review of the law by state researchers suggests the registry isn’t necessary, as long as hospitals are allowed to share information about employees with each other.

    But with the current case at Swedish Medical Center, Lontine and Rep. Joann Ginal, a Democrat who represents Fort Collins, say now is not the time to decrease regulation.

    “Some hospitals may keep track of that but not all hospitals,” Ginal said.

    With the way the registry stands right now, information provided by techs is never verified by anyone.

    Also, there’s no requirement in Colorado for the amount of education or certification for surgical technologists.

    Some states don’t regulate the position at all.


    Surgical Technologists Are Pushing for Stronger Regulations After Massive Medical Scare at Swedish

    February 18, 2016

    Denver 7 ABC, Jennifer Kovaleski

    Video: Watch now

    Colorado Legislation Media Ch7DENVER - The Association of Surgical Technologists is pushing for stronger regulations after a surgical tech was arrested, accused of stealing powerful drugs and putting thousands of Colorado patients at risk. Swedish Medical Center fired Rocky Allen, 28, in January after investigators say he swapped out a medical syringe of Fentanyl and replaced it with another labeled syringe. As a result, Swedish has asked 2,900 people who underwent surgery there between Aug. 17 and Jan. 22 to get tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV.

    "To do something to put our patients at harm, it's really saddening," said certified surgical technologists Holly Falcon.  "It's heartbreaking, and we're angry."

    Falcon is also the vice president of the Association of Surgical Technologists based in Littleton. She said what happened at Swedish gives her profession a bad name, and all of it could have been prevented.

    "I think that regulation is the key," said Falcon. "We don't have a license to lose, we don't have to be certified to work -- therefore anybody who has these issues could theoretically go to another hospital and be working again next week."

    Colorado only requires surgical technologists to register with the state, and self-report bad behavior. There are currently no certification or education guidelines for surgical techs in our state. Nine states have laws setting minimum standards for education and certification of surgical technologists: Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, according to the Association of Surgical Technologists.

    According to Allen's state registration, he was a non-certified tech with "no" administrative actions taken against him. However, that's not true. John C. Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Phoenix told Denver7 that Rocky Allen, 28, worked there as a surgical tech from July 28 to Sept. 26, 2014. In a statement, a spokesperson for the hospital said Allen "was terminated for violation of workplace policy when he tested positive for use of a controlled substance."

    "There's no accountability factor," said Falcon.

    Colorado's current regulation for surgical techs is up for a sunset review at the state capitol. The Association of Surgical Technologist is pushing for the registry to stay in place - even though Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has recommended to lawmakers that it not be renewed. DORA has called the registry duplicative.

    "I think it's crazy to say that surgical technologists don't need to be regulated, and situations such as this are proof that we need to increase the awareness," said Falcon.

    Falcon also said while Colorado doesn't require surgical techs to be certified, patients can ask for a certified surgical tech to be in the operating room while their having surgery.

    "Everybody in the operating room is regulated, except surgical technologists," she said. 


    Colorado Surgical Technologist and Surgical Assistant Legislation Update

    February 18, 2016

    House Bill 1160 aims to prevent individuals with certain criminal backgrounds, especially those individuals with a history of severe substance abuse or drug theft, from being employed as surgical technologists in Colorado operating rooms. As we know from the Kristen Parker case - and potentially the Rocky Allen case - it only takes one person to infect many.

    The Colorado surgical assistant and surgical technologist registration is up for renewal via House Bill 1160. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) recommended against renewing surgical assistant and surgical technologist registration, despite the fact the DORA registration prevented seven surgical technologists or surgical assistants with substance abuse and criminal histories from being employed in Colorado operating rooms. DORA claims the registration is duplicative, even though no other entity registers or tracks all Colorado surgical technologists or surgical assistants.  The Association of Surgical Assistants and the Association of Surgical Technologists strongly support regulation of surgical assistants and surgical technologists. Legislators, public health officials and physicians also support the legislation. The primary sponsors of the legislation are Representative Lontine, Representative Ginal and Senator Tate. Representatives Esgar, Primavera and Ryden are co-sponsoring the legislation.

    The Association of Surgical Technologists is working with sponsors on legislation that will regulate surgical technologists to determine the best policy to ensure the health and safety of the public. The Association of Surgical Technologists supports regulation of surgical technologists and the Rocky Allen incident further demonstrates this is not the time to decrease surgical technologist regulation.


    About Surgical Technologist Regulation

    February 18, 2016

    Nine states have laws setting minimum standards for education and certification of surgical technologists: Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

    Four states register surgical technologists: Colorado, Illinois, Virginia and Washington.  Registration is voluntary in Illinois and Virginia.

    Seven other states have legislation pending or about to be introduced to require education and certification for newly-practicing surgical technologists.

    The Association of Surgical Technologists supports the principle that every patient deserves a Certified Surgical Technologist. A Certified Surgical Technologist is a person who has graduated from an accredited surgical technologist education program and has earned the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.


    Virginia Legislation Passes House, Moves to Senate

    January 25, 2016

    Virginia House Bill 738 by Representative Garrett, was introduced January 12th, passed the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions on January 19th, and passed the House January 25th.  The legislation now moves to the Senate.  The legislation provides for technical amendments to the Virginia Surgical Technologist and Surgical Assisting Registration Act.


    Nebraska Introduces Surgical Assistant Legislation

    January 6, 2016

    Throughout 2015, an appointed Credentialing Review Committee ("407 Technical Review Committee") under the auspices of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services met to review surgical assistant licensure and surgical technologist registration in Nebraska.  The Committee recommended licensing surgical first assistants who have obtained a level of education, training, and examination as approved by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Legislative Bill 721 was subsequently introduced in the Nebraska legislature. The legislation states surgical assisting is an established health profession in Nebraska, that surgical assistants aid in ensuring a safe surgical environment by maximizing patient safety by using appropriate techniques for processes, and that it is necessary to encourage the most effective utilization of the skills of surgical first assistants by enabling them to perform task delegated by a licensed physician. NE-AST leadership, AST and ASA have been very involved in the process and will continue to engage in the legislative process.


    NE-AST and AST Testify at Surgical Technology 407 Hearing for Licensure of Surgical Technologists

    January 4, 2016

    On January 4, the Technical Review Committee for the licensure of surgical technologists in Nebraska heard testimony from AST, including NE-AST President, Casey Glassburner, CST, BS, F.A.S.T., in support of the Surgical Technologist Licensure Application submitted by the Nebraska State Assembly of AST.  More than 800 surgical technologists serve as an integral part of the surgical team in Nebraska, performing hundreds of surgical procedure in Nebraska health facilities every day. NE-AST leadership and AST staff addressed surgical technologists' role in patient safety, surgical technologists' expertise in the theory and application of sterile and aseptic technique and combine knowledge of human anatomy, surgical procedures, and, surgical equipment and technology to facilitate a surgeon's performance of invasive procedures. Nebraska's surgical technology programs have achieved national accreditation and a third program is in the process of earning accreditation.  The Committee voted 4-2 in favor of licensure of surgical technologists. NE-AST leadership and AST will continue to lead this process.


    AST Testifies before Oregon Health Authority

    December 17, 2015

    On December 17, 2015 the Oregon Health Authority held a rulemaking hearing to adopt the proposed rules to implement House Bill 2876, Education and Certification of Surgical Technologists.  AST and OR-AST members participated in the Oregon Health Authority rulemaking committee leading up to the hearing to help craft the proposed rules.  At the hearing, AST testified in support of the proposed rules.  The Oregon Health Authority will issue final rules in the near future.


    House Bill 4501 Introduced in South Carolina

    December 3, 2015

    Legislation has been pre-filed by Representative G. Murrell Smith, Jr. to update the South Carolina surgical technologist law. House Bill 4501 was referred to the House Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs. AST and SC-AST are launching a legislative initiative to make sure Certified Surgical Technologists' voices are heard.


    Representative LaTourette and Representative Huffman Testify in Support of Surgical Technologist Licensure in Ohio

    November 23, 2015

    House Bill 373 , Ohio legislation which requires licensure for surgical technologists, was heard in the Ohio House Committee on Commerce and Labor.  Representative Sarah LaTourette and Representative Stephen Huffman stated this much needed legislation would promote patient safety and improve outcomes for Ohio patients undergoing a surgical procedure.  They explained that surgical technologists' integral role on the surgical team and in promoting patient safety.   There are 27 educational programs in Ohio today where an individual can receive an accredited degree in surgical technology, yet surgical technologists are not regulated in Ohio.

    House Bill 373 would establish a surgical technologist license administered by the State Medical Board of Ohio.  Under House Bill 373 surgical technologists would be required to apply for their license beginning two years after the effective date of the bill.  To apply for a license, a surgical technologist would have to first obtain his or her certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.  Every surgical technologist would be required to complete at least thirty hours of continuing education every two years to maintain their license.  This continuing education standard reflects the standard already in place for the national surgical technologist certification. 

    House Bill 373 contains a grandfather clause for surgical technologists who are currently employed by a hospital or ambulatory surgical center.  Under this provision, these surgical technologists would still be required to obtain a license, however the certification requirement would be waived.  House Bill 373 would also exempt individuals who receive training as a surgical technologist from the U.S. Government or Armed Forces.  This will ensure that veterans can take advantage of their training in the civilian world without being forced to undergo additional, repetitive training.  

    The bill also includes language that ensures nurses, physician’s assistants, and other members of the surgical team can perform the duties of a surgical technologist without holding a separate license.  


    Texas Medical Board Self-Evaluation Reports Due

    September 1, 2015

    ASA is actively monitoring the Texas Medical Board as the sunset process begins. Licensed Surgical Assistants in Texas fall under the purview of the Texas Medical Board. Texas analysts will work throughout 2016 to assess the Texas Medical Board.  In December 2016, the Sunset Commission will adopt final recommendations. 


    Governor Rauner Signs Surgical Assistant Reimbursement Legislation Into Law

    July 24, 2015

    Congratulations Illinois surgical assistants! Governor Rauner signed House Bill 2763 into law. The law states that payment for services rendered by a registered surgical assistant, as defined in the Registered Surgical Assistant and Surgical Technologist Title Protection Act, who is neither an employee of an ambulatory surgical treatment center, nor an employee of a hospital shall be paid at the appropriate non-physician modifier rate if the payor would have made payment had the same services been provided by a physician.  Illinois registration information is available at: http://www.idfpr.com/profs/info/SurgAssistant.asp.


    Governor Kate Brown Signs Surgical Technologist Education and Certification Legislation Into Law

    June 12, 2015

    Congratulations Oregon Certified Surgical Technologists! Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2876, "Turner's Law." This new law creates minimum education, certification and continuing education standards for surgical technologists working in Oregon!

    This historic and spectacular achievement is the culmination of more than a decade of advocacy and education by Oregon surgical technologists dedicated to surgical patient safety. In fact, the Board of Directors of the Oregon State Assembly of the Association of Surgical Technologists has decided to name this law, "Turner's Law" in honor of Deborah A. Turner, CST, CSFA, who began this effort more than a decade ago. Deb Turner laid the groundwork, engaged and empowered fellow surgical technologists, and when the legislative effort was resumed, legislators were familiar with the issue and ready to listen. Catherine Rice, CST; Michael Hearn, CST and David Wiper, CST, CSFA were also key leaders who helped advance the cause in the early years.

    Tara Bartlett Kruse, CST, resumed and selflessly led the initiative in 2013, securing sponsorship and critical support from many key legislators. Tara also engaged other leaders including, but not limited to Don Dreese, CST, CSFA; Melissa Garinger, CST; Carol Hogenkamp, CST; Michael Hearn, CST; Victoria Fleming, CST; and David Wiper, CST, CSFA. They offered valuable support and many took time off to go to Salem to testify and show solidarity.

    Numerous other CSTs have supported this effort, written letters and participated in grassroots tactics. In fact, Oregon AST membership set records when contacting the Governor to urge her to sign the bill into law. Nearly 100 members sent letters to Governor Kate Brown in less than 5 days, a record percentage of membership. The persistence, determination and team approach by the Oregon State Assembly is an example of advocacy at its best.

    The legislation was introduced February 4, 2015. Quickly AST and OR-AST were involved in heavy negotiations with the Oregon Hospital Association in the House with tremendous support from Representative Greenlick, Chair of the House Health Committee, and Representative Buehler, a physician and committed civic leader. House Bill 2876 passed the House on April 27, 2015, was heard in the Senate Committee in May, and Senator Knopp carried the bill all the way through the Senate, and it passed the Senate June 2, 2015.

    Informational materials regarding the law will soon be available on the AST Map of State Laws in the Public Policy section of the AST website. The law is available at http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2015/HB2876/ or http://www.ast.org/uploadedFiles/Main_Site/Content/Public_Policy/OR_Law_Summary.pdf. The first effective date in the law is July 1, 2016 to allow time for OR-AST and AST to educate members and employers about the law.

    Congratulations to all!


    Surgical Technology Legislation in the Press

    May 22, 2015

    Legislature appears set to require certification of surgical technologists: https://www.thelundreport.org/content/legislature-appears-set-require-certification-scrub-techs. 


    Surgical Technologist Education and Certification Legislation Receives Hearings Nationwide

    March 25, 2015

    Oregon surgical technologist education and certification, House Bill 2876, was heard before the Oregon House Committee on Health Care on March 9; and Arkansas education and certification legislation, House Bill 1142, was heard before the Arkansas House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor on March 12.  In addition, NE-AST leadership advocated for education and certification of surgical technologists at a Nebraska legislative hearing on March 18.  


    WA-AST Legislative Leader Sandra Manwiller, CST Published in Washington Wire

    February 23, 2015

    To read this story about the Washington surgical technologist legislation, visit:  http://washingtonstatewire.com/blog/guest-op-ed-rectifying-surgical-patient-safety/ 


    Virginia Registration Now Live

    February 14, 2015

    Registration is now open!  The registration form is available at http://www.dhp.virginia.gov/Forms/medicine/Surgical/_SA_ST_Paper_App_Inst.pdf. To register as a surgical technologist the individual needs to provide one of the three following documents: 1.) A current credential as a Certified Surgical Technologist from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting; 2.) Successful completion of a surgical technologist training program during the applicant’s service as a member of any branch of the armed forces of the United States; or 3.) Practice as a surgical technologist at any time in the six months prior to July 1, 2014, provided the applicant registers with the Board by July 1, 2015.


    State Policymaker Attends Live Surgery

    February 10, 2015

    In Colorado, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies lead policy analyst attended a live ACL replacement surgery at an ambulatory surgical center in the Denver metro area. The surgery was arranged by AST staff and an AST national director, Treasurer, Holly Falcon, CST, FAST.  The surgery demonstrated the important role of surgical technologists and surgical assistants in the operating room and their importance in patient safety.  In addition, the surgeon advocated in favor of the importance education, training and certification for all operating room professionals.  


    Washington State Hearing Engages Surgical Technologists and Surgical Technology Students in Legislative Process

    January 30, 2015

    WA-AST legislative leaders brought AST members and Washington surgical technology students to the Capitol to see democracy in action.  On the stairs of the Capitol, Jan Olmsted, CST and Mark Gjurasic, AST lobbyist, spoke to the members and students about the legislative process.  Then, Senate Bill 5049 was heard before the Senate Committee on Health Care on January 29 and the committee room was flooded with surgical technologists and surgical technology students in scrubs: an effective demonstration of support.  


    Surgical Technologist Legislation Introduced and Pre-filed Nationwide

    January 20, 2015

    AST legislative initiatives are gearing up for 2015.  Surgical technologist education and certification legislative initiatives are pending in Arkansas, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington.  In Nebraska, AST is helping drive a the efforts to pursue the "407 Process" which will set the foundation for establishing the CST as the entry-level credential for surgical technologists and the CSFA as the credential for surgical technologists. A review will be conducted during this process that will assist in determining the steps that will be necessary during the 2016 legislative session to move forward with regulation of these professions in Nebraska. 


    New York Surgical Technologist Law In Effect

    January 1, 2015

    The law which requires graduation from a CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited surgical technology program and maintenance of the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting and 15 hours of continuing education hours per year for all practicing surgical technologists takes effect today, January 1, 2015. For more information, visit the New York page on the AST Map of State Laws.


    California Surgical Technologist Legislation Passes House and Moves in the Senate

    July 8, 2014

    Assemblymember Roger Hernandez introduced legislation requiring graduation from an accredited program and Certified Surgical Technologist certification, Assembly Bill 2062.  This legislation, launched by AST in 2010 and continued by SEIU in 2014, passed the Assembly Health Committee in late April, passed Assembly Appropriations on May 7, passed the Assembly on May 19, passed the Senate Health Committee on June 19, and was favorably amended on July 3.  The legislation is scheduled to be heard in Senate Appropriations on August 5, 2014. Update: Governor Brown vetoed the certification bill in California despite unanimous passage in the Senate and near unanimous passage in the House. Governor Brown stated, "...Hospitals successfully employ many surgical technologists today. They should continue to do their utmost to ensure that everyone in an operating room is competent and qualified to do the job."  


    Virginia Passes Surgical Technologist and Surgical Assistant Law

    April 3, 2014

    Governor McAuliffe signed the certified surgical technologist legislation, Senate Bill 328, into law!  Congratulations! Surgical technologists and surgical assistants are now officially a part of the Commonwealth of Virginia Code of Law.  Senate Bill 328, which was passed unanimously in March in the legislature (all Senate and House of Delegates committees and on the floor) and signed into law by Governor McAuliffe on April 3, 2014. The bill was the subject of a compromise with the Virginia Hospital Association, which had opposed and defeated prior legislative initiatives in 2011, 2012 and 2013. However, in 2014, the strength of our grassroots, sponsor and legislative professionals caused us to succeed in passing the legislation.  For more information visit the Virginia page on the  Map of State Laws.


    State Legislatures Introduce Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting Bills Nationwide  

    January 13, 2014

    This month Virginia introduced Senate Bill 328, Minnesota introduced House File 1993, Washington State has re-introduced HB 1555, Oklahoma pre-filed HB 2600 and Ohio has taken up SB 214 in committee.  For more information, contact AST Government Affairs.


    Governor Pat Quinn Signs Illinois Surgical Technologist and Surgical Assistant Registration Renewal Act 

    August 16, 2013

    To register as a surgical technologist, a person must hold the Certified Surgical Technologist credential granted by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.  For more information visit the AST Map of State Laws.


    Governor Cuomo Signs NY Surgical Technologist Bill Into Law

    August 1, 2013

    Congratulations New York! Governor Cuomo signed surgical technology education and certification legislation into law! The legislation passed the New York Assembly and Senate unanimously in June and was signed by Governor Cuomo in July 2013. 

    The legislation requires graduation from a CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited surgical technology program and maintenance of the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.  The legislation also requires 15 hours of continuing education hours per year for all practicing surgical technologists. For more information, visit the New York page on the AST Map of State Laws.


    Twelve New York AST Members Generate 190 Letters Before Legislation Delivered to Governor

    July 19, 2013

    NY AST members went above and beyond to generate letters in support of the NY surgical technology education and certification legislation. S.5185-a by Senator Savino/ A.7419-a by Assemblyman Cahill passed the Assembly and Senate unanimously in June. The legislation was delivered to the Governor this morning, Friday, July 19th. Governor Cuomo has through the end of the month to make a decision. The legislation provides for graduation from an accredited program and certification for newly-practicing surgical technologists. Currently practicing surgical technologists are grandfathered in. For the past six weeks, as part of the final push to the Governor's Office, NY-AST leadership and members have been talking to hospital CEOs, surgeons, anesthesiologists, surgical services directors, RN circulators, educators, other health care professionals and concerned citizens to generate letters of support. Since Governor Cuomo has already heard from hundreds of surgical technologists in previous years, NY-AST's goal this year was to demonstrate the immense support we have from the greater medical community. Breaking national records, twelve NY leaders obtained more than 190 letters from the NY medical community and citizens. [Update: Governor Cuomo signed the legislation into law on July 31, 2013.


    New Massachusetts and Tennessee Laws Took Effect July 1, 2013

    July 2, 2013

    For more information visit the Massachusetts and Tennessee pages on the AST Map of State Laws.


    New York and Illinois Legislation Pass Legislatures Today

    June 19, 2013

    The New York legislation, which requires graduation from an accredited program and certification for newly-practicing surgical technologists, has passed the NY Senate and the Assembly and awaits a decision from the Governor. [Update: Governor Cuomo signed the legislation into law on July 31, 2013. Click here for FAQs.] 

    The Illinois legislation renews surgical assistant and surgical technologist registration until January 1, 2024. A copy of the FAQs is available here