The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is considering whether or not to develop a new standard to prevent workplace violence in health care and social-assistance settings. The agency has issued a public Request for Information on the extent and nature of workplace violence in the industry and the effectiveness and feasibility of methods used to prevent such violence. Comments and materials can be submitted electronically to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or via mail, fax or hand delivery. The submission deadline is April 6.
The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) has extended the deadline to complete its Energy and Water Survey to Jan. 13. ASHE is asking all health care facilities to complete the survey, which will help to update Energy Star scoring models in addition to identifying energy- and water-use trends. The data will be shared anonymously with the Environmental Protection Agency with the goals of updating the Energy Star 1–100 score models for both general medical and surgical hospitals and medical office buildings, expanding to new Energy Star 1–100 score models for other health care space types, and evaluating the potential to develop a 1–100 score for water efficiency. All health care organizations are encouraged to participate.
The Joint Commission has changed the way it documents interim life safety measures (ILSMs) in requirements for improvement. As part of its new process, if surveyors identify a deficiency that results in a requirement for improvement (RFI), they will ask the health care organization which ILSMs will be implemented until corrective actions are completed. ILSM selections must be based on the organization's ILSM policy, and surveyors will record the selected measures into the RFI. The American Society for Healthcare Engineering states that “health care facility managers should be familiar with their organization's ILSM policy and be ready to appropriately apply ILSMs during the survey.”
The Environmental Protection Agency administrator recently signed a Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule, which was published in the Federal Register on Nov. 28. The measure finalizes an update to the hazardous waste generator regulations to make the rules easier to understand, facilitate better compliance, provide greater flexibility in how hazardous waste is managed and close important gaps in the regulations. Two key provisions in which the EPA is finalizing flexibility are allowing a hazardous waste generator to avoid increased burden of a higher generator status when generating episodic waste provided the episodic waste is properly managed; and allowing a small-quantity generator to send its hazardous waste to a large-quantity generator under control of the same person.
The Joint Commission’s Department of Health Services Research is conducting a 12-month study of nursing home infection measurement supported through a research contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative. The study will use the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network, a measurement system for infection rates at U.S. health care facilities. The Joint Commission says the results of the study will inform policymakers on how prepared nursing homes are to implement standardized measurement of infections and influence new targets and goals to reduce HAIs.
The Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has updated its resource to help health care organizations comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ new emergency preparedness rule. Most of the updates include answers to questions regarding the new rule. The rule became effective Nov. 15, 2016. Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers must implement the new rule by Nov. 15.