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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 14, 2019 01:04 PM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Certification of Central Service Technicians

I plan to introduce legislation similar to Senate Bill 1135 of last session, which provides for the certification of central service technicians.

Central service technicians are the individuals responsible for ensuring that equipment and instruments used during surgical procedures are properly disassembled, cleaned, inspected, sterilized and reassembled prior to patient use. Currently, central service technicians are not required to be certified. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections cited that surgical site infections result in an estimated 13,088 deaths per year and cost hospitals approximately $25,546 per infection.

In a 2012 NBC Nightly News investigation piece, Brian Williams explored the procedures of a central service department at a healthcare facility https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zS4_RRrOWg

In spring, 2017, a Pennsylvania Health Department inspector's interview determined that an employee involved with a surgery at Crozier-Chester Medical Center "did not know that an endoscope could not be reused if it had only been pre-cleaned and did not understand that it required high level disinfection before reuse." The investigative report states that operating room nurses and technicians were re-competencied on the use and pre-cleaning process for endoscopes.

With the passage of this legislation, an individual in this position will be required to pass a nationally accredited exam and maintain 10 continuing education credits annually. The legislation provides for “grandfathering in” technicians that have been working as central service technicians immediately prior to the effective date of the act, but they will still have to maintain 10 continuing education credits annually. Those not grandfathered in will have 18 months from the date of hire to be certified.

Central service technicians are responsible for first-line processes to prevent surgical site infections. Improperly sterilized instruments used in surgical procedures can introduce bacteria into a patient that sets up the risk for infection. It is critical to the safety of these patients that every member of the surgical team has the proper education, skills and knowledge to function safely.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB730