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Arkansas Surgical Tech Bill Dies

Publish Date: April 15, 2015

A bill that would have provided title protection for surgical technologists by authorizing the Arkansas Board of Medicine to formally register certain surgical technologists failed to move in Arkansas’s 2015 legislative session.

House bill 1142 would have allowed the Board of Medicine to register surgical technologist applicants that 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.

In order to safeguard patient safety in Arkansas operating rooms, AORN Government Affairs worked with stakeholders throughout the legislative session on amendments to the original bill. 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. AORN and other interested parties expressed concerns about that proposed construct, leading the bill sponsor to abandon the certification and supervision requirements and narrow the bill to title protection only.

AORN state legislative coordinator Kenneth Worley, RN CNOR, was integral to AORN’s advocacy efforts on this bill. AORN Government Affairs will continue to work with Arkansas stakeholders going forward 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.