HHS launches disaster readiness tool

Emergency management // Health & Human Services (HHS) has launched HHS emPOWER, a geographic information system-based tool for health disaster readiness. The interactive tool combines monthly numbers of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries’ claims for electricity-dependent equipment at the national, state, territory, county and ZIP code levels. It combines the data with real-time severe weather tracking services. “This tool helps communities better anticipate, plan for and respond to these unique needs of this population and improve resilience for the entire community before and after disasters,” states Nicole Lurie, M.D., HHS’ assistant secretary for preparedness and response. In a related item, HHS announced it will award more than $840 million in cooperative agreements to health departments across the country to improve and sustain emergency preparedness at the state and local levels.

OSHA announces focus on health care injuries

Worker safety // The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says it is expanding its use of enforcement resources in hospitals and nursing homes to address common causes of workplace injury and illness in the health care industry. OSHA has advised its staff through a memorandum that all inspections of hospitals and nursing home facilities, including those prompted by complaints, referrals or severe injury reports, should include the review of musculoskeletal disorders related to patient or resident handling; bloodborne pathogens; workplace violence; tuberculosis; and slips, trips and falls.

ASHRAE releases new legionellosis standard

Infection prevention // The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recently released its long-awaited American National Standards Institute/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, which establishes minimum legionellosis risk-management requirements for building water systems and provides descriptions of environmental conditions that promote the growth of Legionella. ASHRAE states that the standard, which has not yet been adopted into code, is essential for anyone involved in design, construction, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance and service of centralized building water systems and components.

Joint Commission releases documentation tool

Record-keeping // The Joint Commission posted a new document list and review tool for the Life Safety and Environment of Care standards. The tool, which is offered to accredited organizations for use in their continuous compliance and survey readiness efforts, provides information on documents that will be reviewed by the Life Safety surveyor upon their arrival for an on-site survey.

FGI to publish design guide for behavioral health

Architecture // The Design Guide for the Built Environment of Behavioral Health Facilities is moving its online home from the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems to the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) and is now available on its website. “We at FGI are expanding our mission to publish documents that go beyond the fundamental facility design requirements we are known for,” says Douglas Erickson, CEO of FGI. “We are pleased to have been asked to publish this valuable document, which provides information based on the authors’ long experience in the field."