EPA signs proposed hazardous pharmaceutical waste rule
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the proposed Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule, which will be published in the Federal Register within the next few weeks.

The rule proposes a sector-specific set of regulations for the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals by health care facilities (including pharmacies) and reverse distributors.

The EPA states that the rule will make drinking and surface water safer and healthier by preventing health care facilities from flushing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals down sinks and toilets.

It projects that the rule will eliminate the flushing of more than 6,400 tons of pharmaceutical waste annually. EPA is providing a pre-publication version of the proposed rule for review, but notes that while steps have been taken to ensure the accuracy of this online preview version, it is not the official version of the rule.

Also this week:

Joint Commission releases second quarter Sentinel Event statistics
The Joint Commission updated its sentinel event statistics through the second quarter of 2015.Of the most frequently identified root causes for sentinel events, physical environment ranked No. 5.

CMS plans to reduce health care disparities in Medicare
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' first-ever Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare has listed six priorities to reduce health disparities. One of those priorities is to increase physical accessibility of health care facilities.

NFPA accepts public comments on National Electrical Code
The 2017 edition of the National Fire Protection Association's National Electrical Code (NEC) is open for public comment. The NEC is a national benchmark for safe electrical design, installation and inspection.

FDA issues alert on Puritan Bennett 980 ventilators
The Food and Drug Administration is warning users of a software error on Puritan Bennett 980 ventilator systems. The error may cause the amount of air being delivered to the patient to be lower than the amount programmed by the clinician.

FDA issues alert on Evita V500 and Babylog VN500 ventilators
Faulty batteries in the Evita V500 and the Babylog VN500 ventilators made by Dräger Medical do not last as long as expected, according to a Food and Drug Administration alert. The battery indicator light shows a sufficiently charged battery even when the battery life is depleted.