Hospitals identified as Ebola treatment centers

Infection prevention // Health & Human Services recently announced that state health officials have identified 35 hospitals with Ebola treatment centers, with more expected in the coming weeks. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released interim guidance for states and hospitals to use as they identify and confirm Ebola treatment centers and assessment hospitals. The announcements were part of an update from the White House on the government’s efforts to respond to Ebola and the need for immediate, additional funding to support these efforts.

ASHE develops new NFPA 99 risk assessment tool

Infrastructure maintenance // The American Society for Healthcare Engineering has created a new risk-assessment tool to help health care facility professionals comply with the risk-based approach required by the 2012 edition of NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities Code. The 2012 edition includes a major change to previous editions of NFPA 99. Previously, NFPA 99 applied different requirements based on occupancy type rather than the risk to patients. The 2012 edition has the same requirements for a procedure no matter where it takes place. This new approach gives hospitals more flexibility while maintaining safety.

HHS issues active-shooter guide for health care

Security // Health & Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) has released a guide to help health care facilities incorporate active-shooter incident planning into their emergency operations plans. The document was developed with assistance from ASPR’s Divisions of Health System Policy and Tactical Programs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council.

CDC releases pandemic flu planning exercise

Emergency response // The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a tabletop exercise to help communities and health care stakeholders to test their ability to manage a surge in patients during a flu pandemic. The “Pan Flu Scramble” aims to help communities address the Hospital Preparedness Program and Public Health Emergency Preparedness and response capabilities, and identify potential gaps in resources and services that are associated with surge management.

FDA finalizes guidance for infusion pump makers

Biomedical // The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued final recommendations (links here and here) for infusion pump makers aimed at improving the safety and effectiveness of the devices, which are used to deliver fluids to patients in a controlled manner. “One method of improving the safety of infusion pumps is the inclusion of safety assurance cases as part of the premarket submissions for new, changed or modified infusion pumps submitted by device manufacturers,” the FDA notice states. “This guidance explains the agency’s current thinking and provides recommendations on information to submit through the safety assurance case framework and postmarket surveillance of infusion pumps.” Agency officials said they believe that the recommendations will help to lessen risk associated with infusion pumps.