Arkansas Surgical Tech Bill Comes Back as Study

Publish Date: August 5, 2015


Earlier this year an Arkansas bill which would have provided title protection for surgical technologists by authorizing the Arkansas Board of Medicine to formally register certain surgical technologists died in House Committee at Sine Die adjournment. However, the bill has recently been introduced as an Interim study.

The bill, House bill 1142, would have allowed the Board of Medicine to register surgical technologist applicants who hold a current credential as a certified surgical technologist from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, all military surgical technologist training program graduates, and currently working surgical technologists.  Individuals not registered with the Board would have been prohibited from using the title “registered surgical technologist.” The bill only offered title protection for registered surgical technologists and was not a requirement for certification. Earlier bill drafts would have required certification for surgical technologists working in Arkansas hospitals and ASCs.  The initial proposal required supervision of the surgical technologists by a physician, RN, or other health care practitioner, but did not require the supervising practitioner to be in the operating room with the surgical technologist

As an Interim study, the bill sponsor Rep. Charlotte Douglas will need to present the study before the Joint Public Health Committee. Arkansas sessions change every other year. 2015 was a “Regular” session, which means any type of legislation could be introduced. 2016 session will only focus on fiscal matters. However, each chamber can override this general rule, so AORN will closely monitor the Interim study and work with Arkansas stakeholders to ensure any future allied health care bills in the state appropriately reference the supervisory presence of the registered nurse circulator in all operating rooms.