Our Firm is pleased to have the perfusionist community in gaining enactment of laws that protect the practice of the perfusionist profession and also protect the public from untrained individuals seeking to hold themselves out as credentialed perfusionists.

California Business and Professions Code Sections 2590 - 2595 set education, examination and training criteria which establish standards for the profession and for patient safety. These provisions of law are the result of several legislative proposals which provided the first recognition in California law of perfusionists. Initially enacted in 1992, the statutes we updates and refined in 1993 and 1997.

In 1998, our office worked with then-Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton to bring about passage of SB 998. The resulting law, California Health and Safety Code Section 1255.6, mandated that during cardiovascular surgery a perfusionist, as defined by the Business and Professions Code provisions cited above, “shall operate the extracorporeal equipment under the immediate supervision of the cardiovascular surgeon or anesthesiologist.”

In connection with SB 998, the Legislature made a number of findings and declarations, including:

  • “The practice of perfusion by unauthorized, unqualified, unprofessional, or incompetent persons is a threat to the public.”

  • “Perfusionists make split-second decisions when operating the heart-lung machine which directly affect the cardiovascular and respiratory condition and surgical outcome of a patient.”

  • “The practice of perfusion has a direct and immediate impact on the outcome and mortality of patients undergoing major thoracic or cardiovascular surgery.”

  • “The practice of perfusion is continually evolving to include more sophisticated and demanding patient care activities.”

Another Cailfornia law relative to the scope of lawful practice of perfusionists is Business and Professions Code Section 1206.6 which specifies the categories of healthcare professionals that are authorized to perform the several types of clinical laboratory tests. Our office took steps in 1995 to assure that perfusionists are authorized to perform all categories (waived, moderate and high complexity) of tests under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA).

Legislative monitoring services by our office to CPS would actively review all introduced legislation and proposed Title 22 health facility licensing regulations to assure that the provisions relative to perfusion are not altered or otherwise weakened.

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