The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) has joined forces with the Association of Surgical Technologists in hiring a federal lobbying firm, McAllister & Quinn, to help enact hazard pay for sterile processors, surgical technologists and surgical assistants for their work during COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021. Currently, the federal legislation does not include sterile processors. The lobbying firm will work to add sterile processors to the legislation along with trying to secure passage of the legislation.
Sterile processors are important members of the health care team and have played an increasingly critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are sterile processing technicians responsible for ensuring that equipment and instruments used during surgical procedures are properly decontaminated, cleaned, inspected, and sterilized prior to patient use, the pandemic has led a growing number of technicians to also become responsible for sterilizing certain types of personal protective equipment under U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization.
“Sterile processors are unsung heroes in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers across this country. They are the first line of defense in maintaining quality control to prevent and control the spread of infection. Hazard pay for their work during COVID-19 would help validate their hard work,” said Brian Reynolds, CRMST, CRCST, CIS, CHL, CER, immediate past-president of IAHCSMM.
Sterile processors are high-risk health care workers and should be included in this legislation, stressed Josephine M. Colacci, Esq., director of government affairs for IAHCSMM.
“These professionals have been responsible for sterilizing some types of personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators; therefore, there should be no doubt that sterile processors deserve hazard pay for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a great team effort by IAHCSMM and the Association of Surgical Technologists to hire federal lobbying support,” Colacci said.
For more information, visit iahcsmm.org.