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Debate Surrounds Renewal Of State Registry For Surgical Technicians

DENVER (CBS4) - As the investigation into former surgical technician Rocky Allen is building steam, a Colorado law designed to strengthen regulations for that positon is set to expire.

Allen is accused of stealing syringes at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood and appeared in a federal courtroom in Denver on Friday morning.

Since 2010, surgical technicians have been required to register with the state. That's a law that was put into place after former Rose Medical Center operating room technician Kristen Parker infected approximately 30 patients with hepatitis C.

State Rep. Susan Lontine, a Democrat who represents Denver, says the goal then was to create a state database where hospitals can review a person's history before hiring them.

"Without a registry, we don't have any way to track when these people are let go because of these circumstances and we don't have any way for future employers to know this is what happened and this is why this person shouldn't continue to work in this field," Lontine told CBS4.

A recent review of the law by state researchers suggests the registry isn't necessary, as long as hospitals are allowed to share information about employees with each other.

But with the current case at Swedish Medical Center, Lontine and Rep. Joann Ginal, a Democrat who represents Fort Collins, say now is not the time to decrease regulation.

"Some hospitals may keep track of that but not all hospitals," Ginal said.

With the way the registry stands right now, information provided by techs is never verified by anyone.

Also, there's no requirement in Colorado for the amount of education or certification for surgical technicians.

Some states don't regulate the position at all.

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