Oregon Smoke Bill Gets a Hearing

This article originally appeared on aorn.org.

On May 28, nearly twenty Oregon AORN members, supporters and AORN staff attended the Oregon House Committee on Health Care informational hearing on HB 2901, a bill to require hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to adopt policies that require the use of a smoke evacuation system during any surgical procedure that is likely to generate surgical smoke.

A total of four panels presented testimony to the Committee, including one panel opposed to the legislation. Mary Ogg, MSN, RN, CNOR, AORN Senior Perioperative Practice Specialist and the author of AORN’s Surgical Smoke Guidelines, presented the scientific research to support surgical smoke evacuation policies. Oregon perioperative nurses and a surgical technologist shared their personal stories of the impacts of surgical smoke on their health and the health of their colleagues in the OR.

The opposition panel included Courtni Dresser, Associate Director of Government Relations of the Oregon Medical Association, Denise Hoover of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems and Kim Helmer, Nurse Administrator from Willamette Valley Surgery Center, representing Oregon Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (OASCA). The opposition panel’s testimony opened the door for discussions this year to garner their support as each of the panel members recognized that surgical smoke is a problem.

The May 28 House Health Committee hearing was a great step in laying the foundation for HB 2901’s success in the 2020 legislative session. AORN expects a similar informational hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Health Care later this fall.

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