President announces cybersecurity plan; AHA comments on NIST framework
President Obama recently announced a federal plan to enhance cybersecurity, which includes a new Commerce Department commission that will recommend by December how to strengthen cybersecurity in the public and private sectors.
Among other actions, the plan calls on health insurers and health care stakeholders to "enhance their data stewardship practices," and seeks feedback to inform further development of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) cybersecurity framework for critical infrastructure.
Ashley Thompson, American Hospital Association (AHA) senior vice president of public policy analysis and development, submitted comments to NIST, saying the framework is an important reference for owners and operators of critical infrastructure, but that "challenges remain in making information and resources actionable at the front lines of health care."
To improve the framework, the AHA suggests the agency add resources such as guidance scaled to smaller health care providers, and case studies and profiles of those who have made effective use of the framework.
Also this week:
FDA to address pharmacy compounding standards for outsourcing facilities
The Food and Drug Administration will hold a public meeting March 8 to discuss scientific, technical and medical issues concerning drug compounding. One of the topics on the agenda includes the addition of 503B to the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013 that creates a new category and requirements for outsourcing compounding facilities.
APIC, SHEA endorse bill to establish medical device cleaning practices
Two national groups have endorsed legislation to establish cleaning instructions and validation data requirements for reusable medical devices, including duodenoscopes. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America say the legislation, Preventing Superbugs and Protecting Patients Act, highlights the need for clear and concise instruction from device manufacturers on reusable medical device use and reprocessing.
Dräger Medical Inc. recalls emergency transport ventilators
Dräger Medical Inc. is recalling the Oxylog Emergency Transport Ventilators because of an electrical issue that may cause the device to stop working if the control knobs are not regularly used. If the device operator does not intervene, the patient may not receive enough oxygen, which could lead to injury or death. Dräger sent letters to its customers with affected devices Dec. 21, and the Food and Drug Administration has identified it as a Class I recall.
Administration to ask Congress for $1.8 billion to address Zika virus
The White House has asked Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus in the United States and abroad. The total includes $1.48 billion for Health & Human Services, $335 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development and $41 million for the Department of State.
ASHE accepting applications for health care energy-efficiency awards
The American Society for Healthcare Engineering is accepting applications for the 2016 Energy to Care and 2016 Energy Champion Awards. Both awards recognize health care facilities that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in energy efficiency. Applications are due by April 1.