Editor's note: Federal Communications Commission approved rules to permit unlicensed devices to operate on the same channel as the Wireless Medical Telemetry Service used by hospitals. Read more on the decision.

AHA alerts Congress to safety concerns with FCC proposal
The American Hospital Association (AHA) and its member group the American Society for Healthcare Engineering shared concerns with Congress regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to permit unlicensed devices to operate on the same frequencies as a hospital’s Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS). The rule is expected to go into effect Aug. 6.

In its statement to the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, the AHA requested “a postponement of at least three months in the FCC’s consideration of these rules so that interested stakeholders can continue to work on a compromise that will ensure patient safety is not affected by unlicensed devices operating on the same bandwidth hospitals use for patient monitoring.”

WMTS was created in 2000 as  “a direct result of concerns raised over how electromagnetic interference with wireless medical telemetry equipment can affect patient safety,” AHA states. AHA officials say there are more than 360,000 WMTS patient monitors in U.S. hospitals.

Also this week:
Researchers study UV disinfection effectiveness against C. diff
In a follow-up study, researchers evaluated ultraviolet light (UV) disinfection and its coincidence with a reduction of Clostridium difficile infections (CDI). For one year, the researchers examined CDI rates, CDI patients’ length of stay, room occupancy and number of days between a CDI case in a room and a hospital-acquired CDI case within the same room. Results found that UV disinfection contributed to a reduction in CDI acquired from intensive care units. 

VA incorporates NFPA standards and codes in its facilities
The Department of Veterans Affairs is amending its regulations to incorporate the National Fire Protection Association codes and standards. The change, which will go into effect Aug. 27, applies to the VA’s community residential care facilities, contract facilities for certain outpatient and residential services, medical foster homes and state home facilities.

Joint Commission updates guide for ambulatory care facilities
Updates to the Joint Commission survey activity guide for ambulatory care organizations include changes to the survey document list, surveyor arrival and preliminary planning procedures and the life safety code building assessment. The changes went into effect this month.

Study links single-use sharps containers with lower C. diff rates
A survey of 1,990 hospitals on the use of sharps containers showed a link between use of single-use sharps containers and lower Clostridium difficile rates. The study assessed the relationship between the use of single-use versus reusable sharps containers and rates of C. diff infections in acute care.

NFPA seeks comments on proposed amendments
The National Fire Protection Association is seeking comments on proposed tentative interim amendments to NFPA 85, Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code; and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety code. Comments must be submitted by Aug. 21.