EPA pharmaceutical waste proposal underway

Waste management // The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing a new proposal to establish standards for the management and disposal of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals generated by health care facilities. This is a continuation of the Dec. 2, 2008, proposal to add hazardous waste pharmaceuticals to the Universal Waste Program, the EPA states. Public comment on the December 2008 proposal revealed concerns over the lack of notification requirements for facilities that generate, handle or transport universal waste pharmaceuticals as well as for the lack of tracking requirements. The new proposed rule will only pertain to those pharmaceutical wastes that meet the current definition of hazardous waste by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and that are generated by health care-related facilities.

FDA finalizes guidance on device data systems

Biomedical // The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued final guidance on medical device data systems. The guidance confirms the agency’s intention not to enforce regulations for technologies that receive, transmit, store or display data from medical devices unless they involve active patient monitoring or require timely response. In addition, the FDA updated its guidance for mobile medical apps to be consistent with the Medical Device Data Systems final guidance.

AHA urges ASPR to distribute funds as intended

Emergency response // The American Hospital Association (AHA) urged the Health & Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to distribute the recent Ebola emergency funding as Congress intended. “Congress provided ASPR $576 million to bolster the infrastructure for the nation’s hospitals and health care systems to respond to an Ebola outbreak in the U.S.,” AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in a letter to the agency. “We ask that the majority of this funding be expended to reinforce this infrastructure.” The letter expresses concern that ASPR may be planning to allocate only a small portion of the funds to health care facilities that stepped forward to raise their level of preparedness to care for patients with suspected and confirmed Ebola.

Panel critical of OSHA proposal on exposure

Safety // The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) should not proceed with a potential rule for occupational exposure to infectious diseases in health care and other related work settings unless it has risk data to justify a new regulation, according to a final report submitted by an advisory review panel of the Small Business Administration. The report recommends that OSHA consider other regulatory and nonregulatory alternatives, and assess each particular work setting to determine the level of risk associated with it.

Joint Commission merges HAI resources into portal

Infection prevention // The Joint Commission recently merged its two online infection prevention resources into the Infection Prevention and HAI (health care-associated infection) Portal. Previously, the Joint Commission offered both the infection control page and the HAI portal as separate resources. The new Infection Prevention and HAI Portal puts information from the Joint Commission, Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare and Joint Commission Resources in one place. In addition, it offers links to other nationally recognized resources on infection prevention issues.