ASHE webinar explains CMS requirements for health care renovations

The American Society for Healthcare Engineering is hosting a webinar Aug. 10 to explain new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements for renovation projects in health care facilities. The requirements within Chapter 43 of the 2012 edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s 101: Life Safety Code, which CMS recently adopted.

“Given the amount of renovation work that occurs in existing hospitals, it is critical for ASHE members to understand the requirements,” the organization states.

The webinar will be held at noon and is free to ASHE members and $125 for nonmembers.

CDC issues updated Zika recommendations for providers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance for health care providers who are caring for pregnant women with possible exposure to Zika virus. Specifically, the guidance extends to 14 days the time frame for testing the blood of pregnant women for Zika particles. Previous guidance had set the time frame at one week; however, new evidence has revealed that after symptoms begin, Zika virus can be present in the blood for longer, and that the virus even can be found in the blood and urine of pregnant women without symptoms.

In addition, CDC released updated interim guidance for the prevention of sexually transmitted Zika virus based on the recent finding of female-to-male transmission of the virus in New York City. As the CDC continues to update its guidance, visit its website for the latest Zika news. 

Ventilation identified as key risk factor in patient-to-patient disease transmission

Three key factors increase the risk for patient-to-patient transmission of extremely drug-resistant bacteria known as carbapenemase-producing carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, according to a new study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

The research helps to explain why some contacts of an infected patient acquire the dangerous bacteria while others do not.

Comparing infected patients with those showing no signs of CP-CRE, researchers found that 96 percent of patient-to-patient transmissions had at least one identified risk factor:

  • Contact for more than three days with the infected individual
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Infection with another multidrug-resistant organism

“The spread of CP-CRE is a major public health concern because it is extremely drug-resistant; however, the research on these pathogens is very limited, and so is our knowledge of their transmission,” says Vered Schechner, M.D., MSc, lead author of the study and an infection control physician in the department of epidemiology at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel. “Identifying high-risk groups helps us to avoid excessive screening that can be risky and expensive, and to determine who should be screened and who might be a candidate for pre-emptive isolation or antibiotics.”

FDA releases draft guidance on Unique Device Identification System

The Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance regarding the form and content that should be included within unique device identifiers (UDI) for medical devices.

The UDI rule is intended to create a standardized identification system for medical devices used in the United States. This will make it possible to rapidly and definitively identify a device and some key attributes that affect its safe and effective use. The UDI rule requires that the label and device packages of every medical device distributed in the United States bear a UDI, unless an exception or alternative applies.

HLAC to expand accreditation standards with ATP testing, textile bioburdens 

The board of directors of the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) has approved funding for application development and field testing of two process-monitoring tools — adenosine triphosphate for hard surfaces and bioburden testing for soft surfaces.

These monitors respectively quantify the effectiveness of internal surface cleaning procedures, e.g., carts, shelves, etc., and the total accumulated bioload present on textiles up to the point of use.

The new standards will become another important element of HLAC's process-based approach and will help laundries to enhance their ongoing quality control efforts, according to John Scherberger, board president.

"This is a natural extension of the 2016 HLAC Standards," Scherberger said. "It strengthens and enhances our process-based approach by enabling further verification of environmental cleanliness and textile hygiene."