HB 1415 Requires Registration of Surgical Assistants, Surgical Technicians

May 10, 2010

HB 1415 is a late bill that would require “surgical assistants” and “surgical technicians” to register with the state starting in April 2011.  Employers would be required to check the state database when hiring new technicians.  The bill establishes penalties for technicians that fail to register.  The cost of registration is projected to be low (estimated at $33 currently) and the state is not authorized to set practice standards for registered technicians at this time. The bill is in response to the incident at Rose Hospital last year.

Initially, we were concerned that the bill might be interpreted to apply to dental assistants. The terms “surgical assistants” and “surgical technicians” are broadly defined.  They could include virtually any healthcare staff who are not already required to register under another practice act.  The scope of the bill includes, for example, anyone who would help position a patient, prepare the operatory, pass an instrument or provide suction during a procedure, count supplies, etc.  However, HB 1415 was amended to add an explicit exemption for personnel regulated by an existing healthcare board.  DORA has indicated that dental assistants are considered to be regulated by the board of dental examiners, and thus would not be required to register under HB 1415.  

Thus, at this point, the primary impact of this bill in the dental community will be for oral surgeons that perform procedures within hospitals or ambulatory surgery centers.  We have been talking to CSOMS about the bill and its impact over the last several weeks.