Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District


June 10, 2022

Senate Passes Legislation to Require Certification for Technicians Handling Medical Equipment

BOSTON– On Thursday, June 9th the Massachusetts State Senate passed a bill that would require central service technicians who practice in Massachusetts hospitals to receive standardized certification through a nationally accredited organization. An Act regulating central service technicians, filed by Senator Mike Rush, would impact an estimated 1,800 technicians operating in hospitals throughout the state who are charged with the disassembling, cleaning and sanitization of medical tools and equipment used in surgery and other highly sensitive medical operations.

“Patients undergoing internal surgery should have every assurance that their procedure will follow the best medical practices available, and doctors should have every assurance that the tools they are working with have been stored and properly cleaned,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Central service technicians are critical in both regards. I want to thank Senator Rush and Chair Comerford for their attention to this issue.”

“Patients across Massachusetts deserve the security of knowing that the equipment and tools being used by medical personnel meet the highest safety and hygiene standards possible,” said Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem). “With the passage of this bill, we can ensure that central service technicians receive the critical training to meet these standards. Thank you to Senate President Karen Spilka, Senator Mike Rush, and Chair Jo Comerford for your attention to this matter, and my Senate colleagues for pushing this legislation forward.”

“As a world leader in the healthcare industry, Massachusetts must maintain the highest standards of patient safety,” said Senator Mike Rush (D-West Roxbury).“I’m proud of the work my colleagues in the Senate and I have done today to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth as well as those who come from around the globe to seek treatment.”

“Central service technicians play an unseen but vital role for patients undergoing surgery,” said Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Senate Chair of Joint Commitee on Public Health. “They are responsible for ensuring that equipment and instruments used during surgical procedures are properly decontaminated, cleaned, inspected, and sterilized prior to patient use. Every day, thousands of Bay Staters rely on them doing their job with perfection. I’m pleased the Senate is advancing this bill, reported favorably by the Joint Committee on Public Health, to recognize their professional status.”

Central service technicians are responsible for ensuring that surgical instruments are safe and sanitary to protect patients from possible infection. Currently, technicians are allowed to perform their duties with a high school diploma or general equivalency degree and without additional relevant training, despite being required to keep up to date with the latest practices for over 37,000 different surgical instruments. The legislation follows multiple high-profile incidents throughout the state in which surgical tools used in operations on patients may have been improperly disinfected. Incidents like these put patients at great risk of potential infection and serious adverse health effects. 

The bill would require central service technicians to pass a national accredited exam and complete an annual continuing education curriculum.

The bill now moves to the Massachusetts House of Representatives where it awaits further action.