NEEDLE STICKS: Senate Passes Safe Syringe Bill
The state "Senate yesterday passed a bill that would require hospitals and other medical facilities to use safer syringes." Supporters say the measure would protect health workers from accidental needle sticks and deadly diseases like AIDS and hepatitis that may result, while opponents claim the technology is unproven and costly. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that state senators passed AB 1208 by a 22-12 vote, but sent it back to the Assembly "for consideration of amendments." Sponsored by state Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), the measure would require the California Occupational Safety and Health Agency "to rewrite its rules" to ensure that hospitals and other health care facilities provide their workers with "safer syringes and blood-drawing equipment." Migden said, "State regulations that, in my view, already require the use of safer needles have been in effect for fully six years. People who treat the sick should not have to worry about getting infected with serious diseases when prevention is a relatively simple matter." The Chronicle notes that the Wilson administration, the California Healthcare Association and the state Department of Industrial Relations oppose the bill. Labor unions and San Diego-based Alaris Medical Systems, a needle and syringe manufacturer, support the bill (8/28). Click needle sticks to read past CHL coverage of the issue.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.