Health Care Certification Agency Announces Agreement with the Department of Veterans' Affairs

Annandale, N.J. and Washington, D.C. -- The National Institute for the Certification of Healthcare Sterile Processing and Distribution Personnel (NICHSPDP) today announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) in which NICHSPDP will offer certification activities for VA central services and sterile processing personnel. NICHSPDP is a freestanding certification board, the only sterile processing certification program accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). In the past, the VA administered its own certification program for central services and sterile processing professionals, but recently indicated an interest merging with the internationally recognized certification board.

"The VA selected NICHSPDP as its certification program for its competency-based certification process and because of its NCCA accreditation," states Bobby L. Osburn, team leader, Materiel Management Assistant Staff for the VA. NICHSPDP's certification process includes contracting with the Chauncey Group International in Princeton, N.J., for all psychometric, test development, job analysis, test administration and scoring services. Osburn went on to note that another consideration for this selection is the fact that NICHSPDP is also accredited by the Veterans Administration and approved by the Defense Activities for Non-Traditional Educational Support (DANTES) of the United States military.

NICHSPDP certification will be voluntary for VA employees; the VA will continue to provide educational and certification programs for its professionals. Per the agreement, all current VA certificants will be given a six-month period to apply to NICHSPDP, which will recognize their VA credential. After the six-month grandfather period, VA employees seeking NICHSPDP certification will apply and obtain certification using the standard process. NICHSPDP will maintain certification and re-certification for these individuals.

"NICHSPDP is very pleased with this collaboration," says Nancy Chobin, RN, NICHSPDP's executive director. "With this agreement, the VA and NICHSPDP have moved another step closer toward the goal of one certification organization for sterile processing and distribution personnel."

NICHSPDP currently offers three levels of certification (technician, supervisor and manager) and will offer a new certification for surgical instrument processors beginning in October 2002. NICHSPDP, a nonprofit organization, was created in 1988 to serve the certification needs of the central service/sterile processing profession, and is the certification arm of The American Society for Healthcare Central Service Professionals, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the American Hospital Association whose mission is to provide education, networking, recognition, membership advocacy, and professional practices to promote innovative ideas toward the future direction and growth of the central service/sterile processing profession.

For more information, visit NICHSPDP's Web site at www.sterileprocessing.org.

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