ASHE webinar series with Joint Commission engineering director to explain new standards

The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services’ adoption of the 2012 Life Safety Code developed by the National Fire Protection Agency sparked many questions among health care facilities managers last year. Those questions only continued when the Joint Commission created more than 75 new or modified Elements of Performance (EP) to mirror CMS’s new Conditions of Participation requirements.

The American Society for Healthcare Engineering of the American Hospital Association, is kicking off a three-part webinar series open to members and nonmembers that will delve into the new and modified EPs. The Joint Commission’s Director of Engineering George Mills, FASHE, CHFM, CEM, CHSP, will be the main speaker for its first webinar Jan. 24. Those interested in the webinar, Introduction of the New Joint Commission Standards, can register through ASHE.   

VA significantly reduced MRSA infections after nationwide initiative, according to study

The Veterans Health Administration (VA) dramatically reduced health care-associated infection (HAI) rates in its facilities nationwide, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The study’s researchers found that between October 2007 and September 2015, monthly HAI rates dropped 87 percent in intensive care units (ICUs), 80.1 percent in non-ICUs, and 80.9 percent in spinal cord injury units (SCIUs). In long-term care facilities (LTCFs), rates fell 49.4 percent during the period of July 2009 to September 2015. During September 2015, only two methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus HAIs were reported in ICUs, 20 in non-ICUs (with three in SCIUs), and 31 in LTCFs nationwide.

The VA program included having a dedicated MRSA prevention coordinator at each facility to oversee a bundle of interventions: universal active surveillance (screening) on admission, unit-to-unit transfer and discharge; contact precautions for those colonized or infected with MRSA; adherence to hand hygiene; and institutional culture change where infection prevention becomes everyone’s business.

New CMS home health agency standards include infection prevention updates

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has finalized rules for home health care agencies. In addition to updates to improve care coordination and patient rights, the new standards also include infection control revisions that focus on the use of standard infection control practices, and patient/caregiver education and teaching.

FDA ban on powdered medical gloves goes into effect soon

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a ban on certain powdered gloves and products used by health care professionals. The ban includes powdered surgeon’s gloves, powdered patient examination gloves and absorbable powder for lubricating a surgeon’s glove.

The ban was proposed last March and will go into effect Jan. 18.

Joint Commission approves Phase 1 revisions to behavioral health facility requirements

The Joint Commission has approved Phase 1 revisions to clarify existing language, add new Elements of Performance and revise notes in its Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Behavioral Health Care.

The revisions include changes to Environment of Care Standard EC.02.04.03. The standard has been expanded to include all behavioral health organizations, not just those that identify as a behavioral health home-certified organization.  

CMS rescinds policy disallowing secure units for justice-involved individuals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Survey & Certification group recently rescinded a policy disallowing hospital security units, which provide private beds for justice-involved individuals such as inmates and those in the custody of law enforcement or the state Department of Corrections.

The American Hospital Association had urged the agency to rescind the policy, noting that security units enable hospitals to provide a safe environment for patients, visitors and staff while ensuring that individuals such as prisoners and jail inmates have access to needed inpatient health care services.