HHS seeks input on Hospital Preparedness Program
Health & Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) encourages hospitals to participate in recently opened discussions on its Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) about updating the Hospital Preparedness Program's health care preparedness capabilities and performance measures.

TRACIE allows users to connect with peers and participate in near real-time conversations about pending and actual health threats, share plans and other materials, and discuss promising practices and other information in a password-protected environment. Access to the Information Exchange is restricted to those involved in health care system preparedness only, and user registrations will be validated prior to approval.

Also this week:

C. diff infection increases hospital costs by 40 percent per case, study finds
The American Journal of Infection Control published a study that shows Clostridium difficile infections increase hospital cost by 40 percent per case and puts those infected at high risk for longer hospital stays and readmissions. The study, "Impact of C. diff-associated diarrhea on acute care length of stay, hospital costs, and readmissions," analyzed patients discharged between January 2009 and December 2011.

CDC warns of new superbug variation of CRE
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that among carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections, strains that carry plasmid-encoded carbapenemase enzymes that inactivate carbapenem antibiotics are of greatest public health concern because of their potential for rapid global dissemination. The CDC reports that monitoring the emergence of carbapenemases is crucial to limiting their spread; identification of patients carrying carbapenemase-producing CRE should result in the institution of transmission-based precautions and enhanced environmental cleaning to prevent transmission.

U.S. capability for treating Ebola outbreak appears sufficient but limited
The United States has sufficient capacity for treating another outbreak of the Ebola virus, but financial, staffing and resource challenges remain a hurdle for many hospitals and health systems attempting to maintain dedicated treatment centers for highly infectious diseases, according to new study. The research was published online in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Class I recall of Inspiration LS, 5i and 7i ventilator systems by eVent Medical
The Food and Drug Administration announced that eVent Medical is recalling the LS, 5i, and 7i Inspiration ventilators because a faulty switch on the ventilators' power board may fail, causing the ventilator to shut down without sounding an alarm. If the ventilator shuts down, the patient may not receive enough oxygen and could suffer serious adverse health consequences, including injury or death. This recall includes all models of eVent Medical LS, 5i and 7i Inspiration ventilators manufactured prior to Jan. 21. Distribution dates include Feb. 14, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2014.

OSHA accepting comments on Safety and Health Program Management guidelines
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking public comment on an updated version of its voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines. All comments must be received by Feb. 15. The draft document aims to provide employers and workers with a sound, flexible framework for addressing safety and health issues in the workplace.

FDA to host forum on medical device cybersecurity
The Food and Drug Administration will host a public workshop titled "Moving Forward: Collaborative Approaches to Medical Device Cybersecurity" Jan. 20–21. The workshop is being held in collaboration with the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center, Health & Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security. The agencies seek to bring together diverse stakeholders to discuss complex challenges in medical device cybersecurity that impact the medical device ecosystem.