Frequently Asked Questions - Infection Control Outline Updates

Note: The following pertains to Infection Control Training for Physicians, Physician Assistants, Specialist Assistants, Medical Residents, Medical Students, and Physician Assistant Students. For all other healthcare professions, please consult the NYS Education Department at Office of Professions at 518-473-1426 or by e-mail at op4info@mail.nysed.gov.

What changes have been made to Infection Control Training?

  • The Patient Safety Bill mandates numerous changes to the Infection Control Training required of all healthcare professionals practicing in New York State:
    • Effective September 1, 2008
      • The Infection Control Training Syllabus must be updated to reflect current practice and standards, focuses particular attention on instruction in standards of practice for which compliance is suboptimal based on the department's experience, and emphasizes the application of infection control standards and practices in outpatient and ambulatory settings.
    • Effective November 3, 2008:
      • In addition to those currently required to complete training (physicians, podiatrists, physician assistants, and specialist assistants, dentists, dental hygienists, licensed practical nurses, optometrists, and registered professional nurses), medical residents, medical students, and physician assistant students are now required to complete training every four years.
      • Requires those exempted from training due to nature of practice to reapply for their exemption every four years.
    • Updates and guidance on provisions effective November 3, 2008 are currently being developed. Course Providers approved by NYSDOH will be notified of any future changes which will be posted on the NYSDOH public website.

Why have changes been made to the NYS Infection Control Training Syllabus?

  • Investigations of incidences of infection with bloodborne pathogens conducted by the NYSDOH have revealed lapses in infection control practices that may have placed people at risk for disease. In some cases, disease transmission has been documented.
  • In response to these investigations, Governor Paterson signed the Patient Safety Bill into Law on August 5, 2008. This law stipulates that on or before September 1, 2008, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) including the Patient Safety Center in consultation with the State Council on Graduate medical Education: "…review and revise the content of the coursework or training in infection control practices as necessary to ensure that such content: (i) reflects the current infection control practices and standards accepted and promoted by the medical and scientific communities; (ii) focuses particular attention on instruction in standards of practice for which compliance is suboptimal based on the department's experience; and (iii) emphasizes the application of infection control standards and practices in outpatient and ambulatory settings."
  • Review Section 239 of the New York State Public Health Law - Course Work or Training in Infection Control Practices

What changes have been made to the NYS Infection Control Training Syllabus?

  • Element III has been updated to include injection safety language consistent with current CDC recommendations.
  • Element V has been updated to include language addressing appropriate reprocessing of medical devices and equipment in all settings, including reprocessing in outpatient and ambulatory surgery settings.
  • Language related to the prevention of transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been added.
  • References to Airborne Precautions have been removed from Element III since they are not applicable to bloodborne pathogen transmission.
  • Formatting edits have been made to clarify content.

Should I use the same six Elements in my training course?

  • Yes. Providers of Infection Control Training should replace Elements III and V they are currently using with the updated versions.
  • The law additionally requires NYSDOH to periodically review the syllabus and make any needed changes to reflect new medical knowledge, so further updates may occur in the future. Course Providers approved by NYSDOH will be notified of any future changes which will be posted on the NYSDOH public website.

How often should I update the training programs I deliver?

  • Updates should be made on a continual basis.
  • As an approved NYS Infection Control and Barrier Precautions Training Provider, you are responsible for:
    • Tailoring your programs to meet the specific needs of the professional audience, and
    • Assuring the content reflects the most current and scientifically sound practices.

When should I incorporate these changes into my programs?

  • Immediately. These changes take effect as of September 1, 2008, and must be included in any programs conducted on or after this date.

Where can I get copies of the updated Elements?

Who do these changes affect?

  • All currently licensed healthcare providers in NYS covered under Chapter 786 of the Laws of 1992 are affected by these changes.
  • This includes healthcare providers regulated by the NYSDOH (physicians, physician assistants, and specialist assistants), and healthcare providers regulated by the NYS Education Department (podiatrists, dentists, dental hygienists, licensed practical nurses, optometrists, and registered professional nurses).
  • For healthcare professions regulated by the NYS Education Department, please consult the Office of Professions at 518-473-1426 or by e-mail at op4info@mail.nysed.gov.
  • Effective November 3, 2008, the law expands those required to complete Infection Control Training to include medical students, medical residents, physician assistant students, and specialist assistant students. Guidance pertaining to the other changes to infection control training mandated by the Patient Safety Bill is being prepared and will be available on the NYSDOH public website.

When do these changes take effect?

  • The updates to Elements III and V take effect on September 1, 2008.
  • Effective November 3, 2008, the law requires NYSDOH to periodically review the syllabus and make any needed changes to reflect new medical knowledge, so further updates may occur in the future. Additionally, guidance pertaining to the other changes to infection control training mandated by the Patient Safety Bill is being prepared. Course Providers will be notified when the updates and guidance are available on the NYSDOH website.

I do not provide training for physicians, physician's assistants, or specialist assistants; do these changes affect programs I deliver to other licensed professionals?

  • Yes. These changes affect training provided to all healthcare providers covered under the Public Health Law Section 230-a.
  • Please consult with the NYS Education Department, Office of Professions at 518-473-1426 or by e-mail at op4info@mail.nysed.gov on issues related to Infection Control Training for professions other than physicians, physician's assistants, or specialist assistants.

Who can I contact with additional questions or concerns?

  • For issues related to Infection Control Training for physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, medical students, medical residents, and physician assistant students, please contact the NYSDOH Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Control Program at 518-474-1142 or by email at icp@health.state.ny.us.
  • For issues related to all other healthcare professions, please consult the NYS Education Department at Office of Professions at 518-473-1426 or by e-mail at op4info@mail.nysed.gov.