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Washington Surgical Technologist Bill Stalls

Publish Date: 3/20/2013

A surgical technologist education bill has stalled in the Washington State House of Representatives due to its failure to meet procedural deadlines for bill movement out of committee.

Surgical technologists in Washington are already required to register with the Washington State Department of Health under existing law. The 2013 bill, HB 1555, would have added a requirement that, after January 1, 2015, surgical technologists in the state must have completed an accredited surgical technology education program in order to work in Washington hospitals.

The 2013 bill was a diluted version of a 2012 bill that would have required certification of surgical technologists. After the 2012 certification bill failed, the Washington DOH conducted an examination into whether surgical technologists in the state should be required to maintain national certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. In December 2012, the DOH issued a recommendation against mandatory certification for surgical technologists because the department’s review did not find any threat to public safety from the current absence of a certification requirement. The DOH also found that the burden on surgical technologists to obtain certification would not result in a corresponding increase in public protection.

AORN is supportive of education and certification requirements for surgical technologists, but believes that any codification of the surgical technologist functions under state law, including within a registration or certification bill, should be clear that the surgical technologist performing in the scrub role functions under the delegated authority and direct supervision of the registered nurse circulator in the room. We will continue to monitor these developments in Washington State. If you have any questions about this or other legislative matters, please contact AORN Government Affairs at grassroots@aorn.org.

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