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CHICAGO -- The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) reports that New Jersey has officially become the first state to mandate certification of central service professionals.
The law, approved by the New Jersey Healthcare Advisory Board on June 17, 2004, was the culmination of years of dedication and hard fought efforts led by Anthony T. Monaco, coordinator for New Jersey's Department of Health and Senior Services. Monaco has been committed to validating the sterile processing profession and recognizing its critical role in the delivery of quality patient care efforts that proved instrumental in getting the much-anticipated proposal signed into law.
"It took three years, but it has finally been made official," he said. "This law will help legitimize the profession by recognizing the critical role CS professionals play in patient care and ensuring that these individuals obtain certification that will help them perform their jobs [more effectively]."
Under the new law, existing CS technicians will have five years to become certified, and new hires will have three years. Those in the ambulatory care setting will have two years to complete the requirement. The law stipulates that sterile processing managers must become certified immediately.
"There will be no lag time for managers. We want them to take the lead on this and in order to do so, they must be certified," Monaco added.
Monaco said the final rule is currently being prepared for publishing in the New Jersey Register, and will likely appear in July. The majority of rules become effective when published.
While the law for CS certification is limited to New Jersey, IAHCSMM still considers the mandate a victory for every CS technician and manager. Not only does the law validate the profession and underscore the value of certification, it could ultimately spur other states to follow a similar course. To help bring that goal to fruition, Monaco stressed the importance of building relationships with state agencies that are responsible for issuing healthcare regulations.
"We applaud Mr. Monaco and the State of New Jersey for their commitment to bringing the value of certification to the forefront. Someone has finally taken a formal stand to recognize that CS personnel are professionals in the overall hospital structure" said IAHCSMM president Sybil Williams. "The American public deserves to have qualified, competent individuals performing such an important task that deals with their medical care and recovery."
Since its inception, IAHCSMM has been a strong advocate of CS education and certification, and has consistently strived to bring the most relevant, comprehensive certification exam to the profession. To better meet the needs of a diverse professional population, the Association began offering a Spanish- and English-translated Certified Registered Central Service Technician examination in April. The translated exam follows a practice-based approach, which uses questions based on subject matter that has been defined by experts in the field for safe and effective practice. Not only does the practice-based format create an opportunity to more accurately assess professional skills from an actual practice or task perspective, it enables IAHCSMM to prioritize and weigh the importance of specific central service materiel management tasks according to their overall impact on quality of care and safety. All CRCST exams are computer-based to ensure security and accuracy.
"IAHCSMM will continue with its vision and mission of strengthening educational opportunities for the women and men of our profession throughout the country," Williams said.
The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management is a premier association for professionals in healthcare central service/materiel management. IAHCSMM provides structural educational opportunities, professional development and a forum for information exchange to more than 8,000 members.