CDC, FDA call for better assessment of medical device reprocessing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are calling for health facilities to assess their reprocessing procedures for reusable medical devices. The alert comes after recent reports of contaminated medical devices, putting patients at risk due to oversight in cleaning, disinfection and sterilization.

The CDC and FDA recommend that health facilities arrange an assessment of their reprocessing procedures by a professional with device reprocessing expertise. Specific areas health facilities need to focus on include training, audit and feedback procedures and infection control policies.

Also this week:

Study reports decrease of drug-resistant strain of MRSA in hospitals
The incidence of the most common strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections, USA300, has decreased in hospital-onset cases, but has failed to decline in the broader community, according to new research published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

FDA safety communication regarding reprocessing flexible bronchoscopes
The FDA is working with federal partners, manufacturers and other stakeholders to investigate infections associated with reprocessed, reusable medical devices, including bronchoscopes. The FDA recommends that facilities take six precautions when reprocessing flexible bronchoscopes, including strict adherence to the manufacturer's reprocessing instructions.

Joint Commission launches campaign on appropriate and safe antibiotic use
Speak Up on Antibiotics is an educational campaign to inform the public on the appropriate and safe use of antibiotics as well as the risks associated with overuse. The Joint Commission states that each year an estimated 2 million people in the United States become infected with bacteria that antibiotics cannot treat because the bacteria is no longer responsive to antibiotics.

HHS awards nearly $150 million to 160 health centers for facility construction
Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced that nearly $500 million in Affordable Care Act funding has been earmarked to support health centers nationwide in providing primary care services to those who need them most. Nearly $150 million of that funding will be awarded to 160 health centers for facility renovation, expansion or construction to increase patient or service capacity.

HHS establishes Presidential Advisory Council on antibiotic-resistance
Health & Human Services (HHS), the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense announced the appointment of nationally recognized experts to the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. Established by Executive Order 13676, the advisory council will provide advice, information and recommendations to the HHS secretary on programs and policies related to combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The council will hold its inaugural meeting Sept. 29, which is open to the public.

FDA Alert on Thoratec Corp.'s HeartMate II left ventricular assist system
Following incidents that resulted in two patient deaths, Thoratec Corp. has issued a voluntary Urgent Medical Device Correction Letter to all hospitals who have patients beingh supported with the HeartMate II left ventricular assist system. Thoratect is reminding users to monitor the expiration date of the backup battery contained within the HeartMate II Pocket Controller, as specified in the product's instructions for use.