Joint Commission and ASHE partner on new resource
The Physical Environment Portal, developed by the Joint Commission in partnership with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), provides online guidance and education to health care facility managers, helping them reduce instances of noncompliance. The publicly available portal looks at the top eight Environment of Care and Life Safety standards developed by the Joint Commission.

Each standard will be addressed on the portal over two months. The first month will focus on requirements and compliance. The second month will move on to evaluating organizational compliance. The goal is to improve patient safety by spreading best practices in the patient care environment and to create high reliability in building systems by giving leadership the skills to assess and ensure compliance of their facilities.

"The facility and building systems play a vital role in creating the healing environment," states Dale Woodin, CHFM, FASHE, senior executive director, ASHE. "Consistent compliance with the Environment of Care and Life Safety standards is an excellent indicator of high reliability in building systems."

Also this week:

CMS issues proposed rule for long-term care facilities
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a proposed rule that would revise requirements for long-term care facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs. CMS says the proposals "are necessary to reflect the substantial advances that have been made over the past several years in the theory and practice of service delivery and safety."

OSHA updates inspection procedures for TB screening
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration updated its instruction for inspecting and issuing citations related to worker exposures to tuberculosis (TB) in health care settings. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-third of the world's population is infected with TB, which kills nearly 1.5 million people each year.

FDA issues new criteria for surgical gowns
The Food and Drug Administration proposed draft guidance on apparel claiming to provide ANSI/AAMI PB70 Level 30r 4 protection. The guidance seeks to clarify the parameters of determining a particular type of surgical gown as a Class II medical device requiring premarket notification. It also specifies information that should be submitted as part of the 510 (k) application for Class II gowns.

Study identifies variation in removal of PPE
A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control involved direct observation of health care workers removing personal protective equipment (PPE). Observers collected data on removal practices from 30 health care workers. The observers found that 43 percent of health care workers removed their PPE in the correct order, however only 17 percent removed their PPE in the correct order and disposed of it in the patient room.

Third of adult hospital stays involve mental/substance use
About one-third of adult hospital stays in 2012 involved a mental or substance-use disorder, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The report used data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's National Inpatient Sample. According to the report, patients with mental or substance use disorders were more likely to be admitted through the emergency department.

ASHE recognizes energy-efficient hospitals
The American Society for Healthcare Engineering awarded more than 20 hospitals with Energy to Care Awards. The award recognizes hospitals that have worked to cut energy use, reduce operational costs and free up more resources for patient care. Since 2009, hospitals participating in the Energy to Care program have tracked more than $67 million in energy savings.

CDC training program fights patient falls
The CDC has added a prevention training program to reduce patient falls among older adults. The training is part of its Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries, or STEADI, program. The materials focus on identifying patients at low, moderate and high risk for a fall; modifiable risk factors; and effective interventions.