CMS extends Joint Commission's deeming authority

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently renewed for six years the Joint Commission as a national accrediting organization for hospitals that wish to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid program. As part of the approval, the Joint Commission made changes to some of its requirements. CMS deems organizations accredited by an approved accrediting organization to be in compliance with all Medicare conditions of participation. The Joint Commission accredits about 77 percent of the nation's hospitals.

HHS awards preparedness funding for hospitals, others

Health & Human Services recently awarded states, territories and large cities about $228.5 million in Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) funds to help hospitals and health systems improve surge capacity and to prepare for public health emergencies. The HPP funds support building sustainable community health care coalitions that collaborate on emergency planning and, during disasters, share resources and partner to meet the health and medical needs of their community.

FDA to stop enforcing compliance with MDDS requirements

Under draft guidance, the Food and Drug Administration would no longer enforce compliance with its regulatory controls for medical device data systems, medical image storage devices and medical image communications devices "due to the low risk they pose to patients and the importance they play in advancing digital health." Comments on the draft guidance, which also proposes similar changes to the agency's 2013 guidance for mobile medical applications, should be submitted by Aug. 25.

Joint Commission posts new prepublication standards

The Joint Commission recently posted for prepublication "Standards Revisions and Clarifications Related to Medical Equipment and Utility System Maintenance." These requirements replace the two prepublication elements of performance that previously appeared on the Joint Commission's website in May. In addition, related clarifications and format changes were made to EC.02.04.01, EC.02.04.03, EC.02.05.01 and EC.02.05.05 for non-deemed-status hospitals. Also posted online are "Revised Hospital and Critical Access Hospital Requirements to Align with CMS" and "New for Critical Access Hospitals: Waived Testing Requirements."

CMS revises emergency preparedness checklist

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has revised its emergency preparedness checklist, a tool it recommends for health care facility emergency planning, according to the American Society for Healthcare Engineering's ASHE Insider e-newsletter. The updates, which CMS released in February in a Survey & Certification memo, give more detailed guidance about patient tracking, supplies and collaboration. A new section of the checklist states that health care facilities should tailor emergency planning templates to their specific needs and geographic location, ASHE reports. The revised checklist also directs hospitals to establish collaborations with various types of health care providers at the state and local levels.