the recently passed medicare prescription drug improvement and modernization act of 2003, section 947 (pages 588-589), includes a stipulation that hospitals not covered by the federal occupational safety and health act, such as public hospitals in states without an osha-approved state plan, will be required to comply with the osha bloodborne pathogens standard. this requirement would be in addition to any needlestick laws in these non-osha state plan states. for the first time, hospital workers in states such as al, ar, co, fl, id, il, la, ms, mt, nd, ne, sd, & wi, will be covered by these protections. the requirement will be effective as of july 1, 2004. ana government affairs staff have worked over five years to get this language included in the new medicare law which signifies a significant step forward in extending bloodborne pathogen protections to those at risk for exposure. for more information, contact butch de castro at (202) 651-7138 or firstname.lastname@example.org.