Neither the Utah Department of Health nor the Utah Board of Nursing regulates dialysis technician training and certification in the state. This does not mean that individuals wishing to practice as a dialysis technician are not subject to industry regulations. In fact, the federal government has adopted requirements that all technicians must meet regardless of the state where they work. It is important for new dialysis technicians to understand laws that are relevant to them prior to seeking employment.
Many years ago, patients who suffered from end stage renal disease and who required dialysis in order to survive were billed directly for the services they received. Because dialysis treatment is an expensive medical procedure, many of these patients were unable to pay for their treatment and were ultimately allowed to die. During this time, many hospitals had dialysis boards that would decide which patients would receive treatment based on their age and their projected future contribution to society.
The inhumanity and unethical nature of such a system led the government to take over the reimbursement process for dialysis facilities. Today, patients who suffer from end stage renal disease usually qualify for Medicare benefits because of their condition. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is responsible for paying approximately 80% of the costs associated with dialysis treatment in the United States. Because the government pays for the majority of the costs of dialysis, they tend to set the standard for dialysis technician requirements throughout the country.
CMS regulations 494.140 (e)(1-4) require that the patient care technician training and certification requirements include 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
Most dialysis facilities in the United States have their own training programs for dialysis technicians. In general, clinic administrators are given flexibility in how they design their training curriculum, but they must include widely accepted standards of practice. Many of these programs last for 30 to 90 days and include a combination of classroom instruction and clinical experience. Upon completion of a training program, most technicians will work for 6 to 18 months prior to taking a state or national certification exam.
National dialysis technician certification options 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)
In an effort to routinely monitor the quality of dialysis treatment being provided by facilities in the United States, the federal government created 18 non-profit networks in 1978. Each network has jurisdiction over facilities in 1 to 6 states where they collect information, publish information, provide patient education, and act as a resource for dialysis facility personnel. Utah is included in Network 15 along with Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
Utah Dialysis Technician Training and Career Links
- Blue Mountain Hospital
- Fresenius Medical Care
- Intermountain Healthcare
- Uintah Basin Medical Center
- University of Utah Health Care
State Contact Information
Phone: (801) 530-6628
Fax: (801) 530-6511
160 E 300 South Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Web Site: Utah Board of Nursing
National Network: Network 15