Montana does not impose dialysis technician training or certification state requirements. Neither the Department of Public Health and Human Services nor the Montana Board of Nursing offer licensing for individuals who wish to become technicians. In unregulated states, facility administrators are usually given the freedom to develop their own training protocol. While Montana does not have technician training regulations, the federal government does have legislation that requires technicians to be certified.
Dialysis treatment is a long-term medical therapy that becomes very expensive over time. Traditionally, hospitals had dialysis boards that were composed of medical professionals who decided which patients would receive treatment and which ones would be allowed to die. This type of decision was usually based on the age of the patient and the projected future contribution to society. The unethical nature of this kind of decision process led the federal government to assign the responsibility of paying for dialysis to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Today, the CMS covers approximately eighty percent of the costs associated with dialysis treatment. Most dialysis facilities are dependent on the government for operational revenue and are compelled to comply with any and all federal regulations.
CMS regulations 494.140 (e)(1-4) require that patient care technician training and certification requirements comply with these standards:
- Meet all applicable state requirements for:
- Standards of practice
- Have a High School Diploma or equivalency
- Complete an approved training program that includes the following subjects:
- Principles of dialysis
- Care of patients with kidney failure
- Possible complications of dialysis
- Water treatment and dialysate preparation
- Infection control
- Dialyzer reprocessing
- Certification by a State or National Program within 18 months of employment
The expectations that an employer might have for a new technician depend on state, federal, and facility rules and regulations. Some employers prefer for technicians to have a basic college degree and some prior healthcare experience while others are willing to train inexperienced individuals how to be successful technicians. In either case, it is very important for technicians to understand which certification options are available to them.
The most commonly recognized national certification organizations include:
- The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC)
- Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) Exam
- The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT)
- Certified Hemodialysis Technician (CHT) Exam
- The National Nephrology Certification Organization, Inc. (NNCO)
The quality of dialysis treatment being delivered to patients has been monitored by the federal government for many years. In fact, Congress created 18 non-profit renal networks across the country who have been given jurisdiction over one to six states where they perform statistical analysis, data collection, health promotion, and act as an educational resource for dialysis patients and facility personnel. Montana is part of Renal Network 16 along with Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Montana Dialysis Technician Training and Career Links
- Billings Clinic
- Dialysis Clinic, Inc.
- Fort Peck Tribal Unit
- Fresenius Medical Care
- Northern Montana Health Care
- St. Peter’s Hospital
State Contact Information
Phone: (406) 841-2202
Fax: (406) 841-2305
301 S Pk, 4th Floor P.O. Box 200513 Helena, MT 59620-0513
Web Site: Montana Board of Nursing
National Network: Network 16