New York Governor Signs Patient Safety Bill Into Law

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Aug. 1, 2013 signed into law A.878-a (Bronson)/S.697-a (Grisanti), which requires central service technicians to become certified and undergo continuing education credits. CS technicians play a most important role in the delivery of patient care. These professionals are responsible for ensuring that instrumentation and equipment used in medical and surgical procedures are properly cleaned, disinfected, inspected, and sterilized prior to patient use.
 
"Today, New York patients in our healthcare facilities will be safer from the spread of infections. Our Central Service technicians are the first line of defense in maintaining quality control to prevent and control the spread of infection,” says Sen. Mark Grisanti.

Assemblyman Harry Bronson adds, “As many families know, all aspects of medicine have become more technical and require better training for all medical providers. This legislation will ensure that central service technicians have the proper training on how to clean medical equipment to prevent and control the spread of infection, and protect our families.”

The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) has long been an outspoken advocate of state certification of CS technicians. Improperly sterilized instruments used in surgical procedures can introduce bacteria into a patient that sets up the risk for infection. Certification of CS technicians will help drive positive patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs overall.

“Central service technicians are part of the team of professionals dedicated to preventing such infections. Certification demonstrates a commitment to patient safety and quality,” says Josephine Colacci, JD, director of government affairs for IAHCSMM. 

The ongoing education required to maintain certification also helps CS professionals stay abreast of ever-evolving instrumentation and equipment, and industry standards and best practices.

“Certification will keep technicians educated on standards-based instrument processing practices, so these professionals can perform their jobs safely and effectively, while keeping quality and patient safety at the forefront," says Wilhelmina Jones, CRCST, president of the New York State Association of Central Service Professionals.

Until now, New Jersey was the sole state in the nation to require certification. IAHCSMM will build upon this momentum to lay the foundation for certification legislation in other states. Legislation will be introduced in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts sometime this fall, and numerous other states will introduce legislation in 2014.

“Today is a positive step forward for patients,” Colacci says. “We hope this will be the tipping point for many other states to follow.”

The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management is the premier association for professionals in health care central service/materiel management. IAHCSMM provides structural educational opportunities, professional development and a forum for information exchange to nearly 20,000 members. For more information, visit http://www.iahcsmm.org.

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