HHS sets new targets to eliminate health care-associated infections

The Department of Health & Human Services has announced new targets for its National Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections: Road Map to Elimination. The new goals replaced previous targets established in 2013. The action plan addresses eight measures, including reducing facility-onset Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections; HHS wants to reduce these measures by 30 percent and 50 percent, respectively, by 2020.

The plan outlines three phases and address acute care hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and long-term care facilities.

Joint Commission and ASHE release new hazardous materials compliance resource

The American Society for Healthcare Engineering has posted new Focus on Compliance resources  to help health care facilities comply with Joint Commission standards on handling hazardous materials and waste.

Areas that are commonly listed as noncompliant include:

  • Eye washes not available or properly accessible, installed, tested and inspected
  • Improper storage of protective lead aprons or covers
  • Staff using chemicals without proper personal protective equipment

ASHE lists applicable resources to deal with each area.

AHE launches new infection prevention certificate for environmental services

The Association for the Healthcare Environment developed a new certificate called the Certificate of Master in Infection Prevention. The intensive 20-hour certificate program provides environmental services leaders and professionals with requisite knowledge to meet the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ requirement for trained professionals in infection prevention and control specific to the clinical environment of care.

The certificate covers microbiology and epidemiology; patient and health care worker safety; surveillance, risk assessment and outbreaks; antimicrobial stewardship; evidence-based cleaning practices and environmental monitoring; preventing infection during construction and emergencies.

ASHE energy and water survey extended to Nov. 18

The American Society for Healthcare Engineering is collecting data and water and energy use at health care facilities through its 2016 Energy and Water Survey. Data collected will be anonymously shared with the Environmental Protection Agency and may be used to help update the EPA’s ENERGY STAR scoring model.

ASHE has extended the deadline to complete the survey to Nov. 18.

FDA seeks hospital input to modernize data collection about medical devices

The Food and Drug Administration is holding an all-day workshop on Dec. 5 to solicit input from hospitals and other medical providers on how to improve its data collection about adverse events related to medical devices. The agency also seeks input on the broader role of hospitals in helping to evaluate how well devices work in the clinical setting. The FDA also will accept written comments through Jan. 6.

CDC to award $70 million in Zika funding to states, cities and territories

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made available $70 million in supplemental funding to states, cities and territories to support continued efforts to protect Americans from Zika virus.

The funding, distributed through the CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement, will go toward epidemiologic surveillance and investigation, improving mosquito control and monitoring, and strengthening laboratory capacity. Funding also will support the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry to monitor pregnant women with Zika and their infants.