SAFE NEEDLES: Despite Support, Legislation ‘Stuck’ in Congress
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said his bill to provide health care workers with " safer" hypodermic needles is "still stuck" in Congress, despite an Occupational Safety and Health Administration endorsement and House approval on Oct. 3, the Las Vegas Sun reports. Each year, 800,000 nurses and other health care workers are accidentally stuck by contaminated needles, an event that may spread potentially fatal diseases. The legislation would mandate that health care providers use safer syringes such as those that automatically cover needle tips following use and hypodermics with retractable needles. The congressional stall is due to a Senate vote blocked by Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), who put a hold on the bill after Lexington, Ky.-based MedPro Inc. argued that the bill's language should include needle disposal devices in addition to safer needles. MedPro is the maker of Needlyzer, a device that can "disintegrate a traditional steel needle to metal ash in one second with a 2,900-degree Fahrenheit electric blast." Reid said he intends to speak to Bunning to urge him to support the bill as worded (Grove, Las Vegas Sun, 10/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.