The Tennessee Department of Health is the agency responsible for establishing dialysis technician training, certification, and license requirements for the state. According to state law, an individual may not act as a technician unless they are trained and competent under federal laws and rules pursuant to 42 C.F.R. § 494.140(e). Trainees must be identified as such during any time spent in the patient treatment areas. A list of required training topics can be found here.
Tennessee’s dialysis technician training and certification requirements are largely reflective of the regulations that have been established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS is the branch of the government that has been given responsibility for covering approximately 80% of the costs associated with long-term dialysis care. In the past, patients were billed directly for dialysis treatment because many health insurance companies did not issue policies that covered such an expensive procedure. Since many patients could not afford their treatment, the federal government decided to make dialysis reimbursement a taxpayer expense.
Nearly all dialysis facilities in the United States receive the majority of their operational revenue from the CMS. For this reason, facilities are compelled to comply with any and all regulations adopted by the federal government. Individuals who plan to work as a dialysis technician in any state should familiarize themselves with government regulations prior to seeking employment.
CMS regulations 494.140 (e)(1-4) require that the patient care technician training and certification requirements adhere to the following 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
Dialysis facilities generally conduct their own technician training protocols and may or may not expect new technicians to have formal college education and prior healthcare experience. All training programs throughout the United States are expected to incorporate commonly accepted standards of practice as defined by the government and by industry organizations. Technicians will usually be required to complete a combination of classroom instruction and clinical experience prior to treating patients. Certification is typically completed after a period of employment that lasts from 6 to 18 months.
Nationally recognized certification options include the following…
- 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)
Aspiring technicians may be interested to know that each state in the United States is a member of a renal network that was created by Congress in 1978. There are 18 of these networks that each have jurisdiction over 1 to 6 states were they collect information about the quality of care being delivered. Networks are also responsible for data analysis, patient education, and serving as a resource for patients and clinical personnel. Tennessee is part of Network 8 along with Alabama and Mississippi.
Tennessee Dialysis Technician Training and Career Links
- Chattanooga Kidney Centers
- Dialysis Clinic, Inc.
- DSI Renal
- Fresenius Medical Care
- Gambro Healthcare
- Kidney Center of Cleveland
- Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
- Satellite Healthcare
- Vanderbilt Dialysis
State Contact Information
Phone: (615) 741-3111
Fax: (615) 248-3601
710 James Robertson Pkwy Nashville, TN 37243
Web Site: Tennessee Department of Health
National Network: Network 8