The American College of Emergency Physicians, American Geriatrics Society, Emergency Nurses Association and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine have released guidelines for treating older emergency department (ED) patients, noting that geriatric patients on average stay longer in the ED, use more resources and are significantly more likely to require social services. In addition to patient care and handling issues, the guidelines cover a number of equipment and design considerations, including recommendations on furnishings, biomedical devices, interior finishes, acoustical strategies, wayfinding and lighting.
The Joint Commission recently posted prepublication standards, adding two new elements of performance for deemed-status hospitals and critical access hospitals centering on inspection, testing and maintenance of certain clinical equipment as well as utility systems. The revised requirements come in response to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services clarification issued in December regarding the circumstances when a hospital may adjust its maintenance, inspection and testing activities for facility and medical equipment from manufacturer recommendations.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced the formation of a new task force called Connect2HealthFCC that will consider ways to accelerate the adoption of health care technologies by leveraging broadband and other next-generation communications services. "We must leverage all available technologies to ensure that advanced health care solutions are readily accessible to all Americans, from rural and remote areas to underserved inner cities," says Tom Wheeler, FCC chairman. "By identifying regulatory barriers and incentives and building stronger partnerships with stakeholders in the areas of telehealth, mobile applications and telemedicine, we can expedite this vital shift."
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized its proposal to phase in new patient safety standards required by the Affordable Care Act for hospitals with more than 50 beds that wish to contract with Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) in health insurance marketplaces. In a final rule published in the Federal Register, CMS adopted its proposal to not require hospitals to join Patient Safety Organizations until at least 2017. Instead, beginning Jan. 1, 2015, QHPs will be required to collect CMS certification numbers from their contracted hospitals with more than 50 beds that are subject to the regulation.