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New York legislature considers bill for infection prevention certification

The New York State legislature is moving to consider legislation that would require infection preventionists (IPs) to be certified in infection prevention and control in order to practice in New York hospitals, according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Sponsored by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D), and Senator Rich Funke (R) A.10671/S.8185  stipulates that IPs would be required to:

  • Successfully pass an exam from a nationally recognized infection prevention and control accrediting organization;
  • Provide evidence that he or she was employed as an IP for one year or more prior to the bill’s passage; or,
  • Be a student or intern performing the functions of an IP serving under direct supervision of an IP.

An IP not meeting the certification requirements would have three years from the date of hire to obtain an infection prevention and control credential.

“All patients deserve to have highly qualified personnel keeping them safe from infections,” said 2018 APIC President Janet Haas, PhD, RN, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC. “We commend New York for taking steps to ensure that IPs working in this state have demonstrated mastery of a fundamental core body of knowledge through certification in infection prevention and control.”

According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 25 hospitalized patients contract healthcare-associated infections. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that IPs who are certified in infection prevention and control achieve better outcomes for their patients. IPs are experts in identifying sources of infections and limiting their transmission in healthcare facilities.

“I am proud to lead an effort that will enhance patient safety in New York hospitals by ensuring that infection preventionists have appropriate credentials,” said Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther. “I hope other states follow this example.”

“Patients and families expect hospitals and their staff to provide the best level of care possible at all times and in all positions,” said Sen. Rich Funke. “Infection preventionists play a crucial role in a patient’s recovery, so it seems only logical that they should be going through a proper certification process.”

APIC‘s mission is to create a safer world through prevention of infection. The association’s more than 15,000 infection preventionist members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.