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Home -> Community News -> Ohio Tech Law

 Ohio Tech Law
OHIO RENAL ASSOCIATION
REPORT TO NETWORK 9 AND 10
TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION IN OHIO
MAY 2000

Ohio Passes Technician Certification Law On Tuesday, March 28, 2000 Senate Bill 111 sponsored by Sen. Grace L. Drake (R-Solon) was passed. The bill requires the Board of Nursing to assume the duty of certifying dialysis technicians and prohibits a dialysis technician from practicing without a certificate. For a final analysis of the bill as passed by the assembly, log on to
http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/analyses/00-sb111.pdf


On March 28, 2000, Senate Bill 111 was signed into law by Ohio Governor Taft. This bill was a result of over 5 ? years of continuous work by a number of individuals and organizations. Most of the work was done by the Dialysis Patient Care Task Force, which included the following:

ANNA – NANT -

Maryam Lyon Mark Parks
Diane Hohwald

ORA – ORPA –

Debra Broadax Dr. Michael Mishkind
Deborah Tucker Dr. Emil Paganini
Diane Wish

During the final 2 years of the process there were on-going meetings with representatives from the Ohio Board of Nursing including Board members and staff.

The relationship between the OBN and the dialysis community has evolved from one of mistrust, misinformation and totally opposite beliefs regarding the appropriate role of a dialysis technician to one of high trust, effective collaboration and a shared vision of the value of dialysis technicians.

The law was drafted with significant input from the renal community. Surveys were conducted and public hearings were held on 2 different occasions and in 5 different cities each time. Various memos, articles and news alerts were distributed. The Ohio

Nurses Association, the Ohio Hospital Association and the Ohio State Medical Association were also involved in this process.

RATIONAL:

The original goal was to protect the facilities on-going utilization of dialysis technicians with the same level of responsibilities as they currently had. We were concerned that since the OBN and the ONA were so intensely opposed to the utilization of technicians in general that they might try to minimize their scope of work if they were unable to eliminate them. We were particularly concerned about the technician’s ability to continue to administer prescription drugs and to use catheters.

Over the course of this many year process there has also been growing concern about the shift of tasks from registered nurses to unlicensed personnel in response to the rising cost of heath care voiced by legislators and reported by the press. This law will also help to convince the public that their safety is being protected .

THE LAW:

SB 111 basically requires 6 things;

  1. standardization of technician training

  2. standardization of competency testing

  3. creation and maintenance of a dialysis technician registry

  4. certification of dialysis technicians

  5. certification of the training program providers

  6. rule making authority assigned to the OBN

Under the new law the process will be as follows:

Certified technician training providers - All ESRD providers will have the opportunity to apply to be an OBN approved dialysis training program provider. Providers, who meet the criteria, which is currently being developed, will become certified for 2 years. The cost is proposed to be $300 every 2 years.

New trainees - Once a technician has been hired to enter an OBN approved dialysis-training program, the provider will submit information on the first day of training to the OBN to enter the technician into the registry.

This is when the18 month time clock begins.

The law now requires all training programs to last a minimum of 320 hours. Programs may elect to exceed the length of the program. While the technicians are in training they are to be referred to as a trainee and they must be assigned to work with a preceptor until their status officially changes.

Approximately 4 weeks prior to the completion of the training program, the technician will need to submit a temporary certificate (1) application to the OBN which includes a $35 fee. It needs to be submitted at this time to allow time for the OBN to process the application and to eliminate or minimize any waiting period from the time a technician completes the training to when he or she can work without a preceptor.

To complete the training program a trainee will need to pass a practical test, which demonstrates that the person can successfully perform all of the basic procedural requirements of the job, and a written test, to show that the tech understands the theoretical aspects of the job. The training provider will need

to sign off, on an OBN approved form, that the technician has successfully completed the training program. This form can be faxed to the OBN.

Since this form is the last piece of information that the OBN will need to complete the temporary certificate application, the OBN will fax back documentation that the application has been awarded. Once the facility has received this notice, the technician can now be referred to as a dialysis technician and he or she can now work without a preceptor. The technician will also receive a temporary certificate card from the OBN.

Temporary certificate (1) - The temporary certificate (1) is valid for up to 18 months from the date the training began. During the next 12 months the technician is expected to gain practical experience and to become more knowledgeable . The technician will then have 6 months to take and pass a national certification exam prior to the expiration of their temporary certificate. This exam is not an entry level exam. It is intended to be a test of the knowledge a technician should have after at least one year of experience and education.

Additional education above and beyond the basic training will be required to pass the certification exam. This may be provided in any number of ways such as self study, in-service education, and continuing education programs. It will be each technician’s individual responsibility to assure that they are prepared to pass the exam.

Technicians with a temporary certificate can perform all of the tasks they have been trained to perform. The only restriction is that they cannot work as a trainer or a preceptor for new staff.

Once the technician receives confirmation that they have passed the certification exam, then they will apply to the OBN for a certificate.

Certified technicians - The certificate is valid for up to 2 years. The OBN will be developing a renewal schedule whereby all certificates will be renewed bi-annually for a proposed fee of $35. Renewals will also require 15 contact hours of continuing education and a minimum of 10 must be in nephrology.

Once a technician is certified, then he or she will be classified as an Ohio Certified Dialysis Technician and can use the initials, OCDT.

Temporary certificate (2) - Technicians who can not successfully pass the certification exam during the first 18 months may be able to apply for a non-renewable temporary certificate (2), provided they can enroll or re-enroll in a technician training program. This temporary certificate is only valid for up to 6 months. The proposed fee for this certificate is $25. During this 6 months the technician is expected to learn what is required and to pass the certification exam.

If the technician successfully passes the exam then he or she will then apply for the certificate.

Temporary certificate (3) - If the technician does not pass the exam, after what is now 24 months from the date they began training, then they can no longer work as a dialysis technician since their certificate has now expired and it cannot be renewed. The only way this person can ever work as a technician is Ohio is to stay out of the field for at least 12 months. At that time they can enroll in another training program and apply to the OBN for a temporary certificate (3) which is only valid for 6 months. If the technician cannot pass the national certification exam during that time period they can no longer attempt to work as a dialysis technician in Ohio.

Experienced dialysis technicians with more than 12 months experience -

Technicians with more than 12 months of dialysis experience as of

June 27, 2000 will need to apply for a certificate. They may or may not need to take the national certification exam. (The BONENT exam will meet the OBN requirements.) If the technician took and passed a national certification exam within the past 5 years then they will not need to be re-tested. If they took and passed the exam more than 5 years ago and have maintained their BONENT certification, they also will not need to be re-tested. The rationale for this is that they earned at least 45 contact hours of continuing education every 4 years to remain certified.

All other technicians will need to pass the certification exam and are expected to meet the criteria for certification by December 24, 2000. Applications for certification will be available in early January 2001.

Dialysis technicians with less than 12 months experience-

Technicians with less than 12 months of experience as of June 27, 2000 will need to apply for a temporary certificate. This will be valid for a specific number of months not to exceed 18 months. This will be calculated by subtracting the number of months a technician has been employed (since their first day of hire/first day of training) from 18 months. All new technicians will have at least 6 months to pass the certification exam once they meet the 12-month experience requirement.

RESTRICTIONS: The only prohibition in the law is to limit the list of approved medications that can be administered by the technicians to 4, saline, lidocaine, heparin and dialysate. Technicians will be able to mix specialty baths. However, concentrate including bicarb, can only be prepared by a dialysis technician, nurse or physician. Any type of technical aide, assistant or equipment technician will no longer be allowed to mix any type of concentrate since it is a prescription drug. Preparation of medications can not be delegated to anyone who is not permitted by law to perform the function.

Since law now protects the role of the dialysis technician, nurses and physicians are not permitted to delegate the tasks performed by the technician any other type of unlicensed worker.

IMPLEMENTATION DATES:

March 28, 2000 - Governor Taft signed SB 111 into law.

June 27, 2000 - Most sections of the law become effective. This is when the 180 day (6 month) clock begins for technicians to pass a national certification exam.

December 24, 2000 - All experienced dialysis technicians need to meet the certification criteria by this time.

The OBN must have adopted all rules by this time. Applications to technicians will be sent after this date.

June 27, 2001 - The OBN will have full authority to enforce the law and rules at this time. Therefore if a technician decides that they don’t want to pursue

certification, they can no longer be employed in Ohio as a dialysis technician as of this date.

SUMMARY - The Ohio renal community should be proud of the work that has been accomplished to raise the standards so that we can better protect the public safety and to continue to utilize technicians. One of the significant accomplishments is the ability to maintain facility flexibility in the use of technicians.

The 30-year track record, which demonstrates that dialysis technicians can be extremely valuable members of the multidisciplinary team, is now protected by law.

 

The Renal Network - 911 E. 86th Street, Suite 202, Indianapolis IN 46240
For more information call 317-257-8265 (phone) or 317-257-8291 (fax) or
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