New York Association of Surgical Technologists
Patient Safety Legislation Awaiting Governor Cuomo’s Signature
Albany, September 14 – Legislation has been sent to Governor’s Cuomo’s office for signature that requires certification of all newly hired surgical technologists in New York. In June, the New York State Assembly and Senate voted unanimously in favor of this patient safety legislation. Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D), sponsor of A.6539, and Senator Diane Savino (D), sponsor of S.4563, introduced the legislation to address the alarming increase in surgical site infections and related health care costs. Surgical technologists stand elbow-to-elbow with surgeons during surgical procedures and are the experts in the operating room on sterility and instrumental in reducing or eliminating preventable surgical site infections, yet New York law did not require surgical technologists to have any education or certification. Reduction of preventable surgical errors not only positively impacts patient care and outcomes, but also reduces medical costs borne by patients, private insurance, Medicare, and importantly New York’s Medicaid, Family Heath Plus and Child Health Plus programs.
“Today, in operating rooms throughout New York, literally thousands of surgeries are being performed,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “Perhaps, you or a loved one has had surgery recently. Competency of the surgical team is vital to surgical patient safety and optimal outcomes. Patients can now be assured that everyone in the operating room is credentialed and meets minimum education and certification standards.”
State Senator Diane Savino said, “Surgical technologists are currently the only members of surgical teams not required to meet minimal educational and credential standards; requiring their certification will greatly increase patient safety, increase surgical team competency, and decrease surgical site infections. This legislation will make patients safer. I am proud to be the Senate sponsor and I look forward to the Governor signing it into law.”