HHS sets up emergency medical base in Puerto Rico following hurricane disaster

The Department of Health and Human Services has set up a medical base in San Juan, Puerto Rico to help treat survivors of Hurricanes Maria and Irma. In addition to personnel, the facility is stocked with medical equipment and supplies, and is located adjacent to Centro Medico, an emergency and trauma center in San Juan.

The facility was set up Monday, and personnel from HHS, the Department of Defense and the Veterans Affairs Administration worked to transport residents with chronic medical issues to Federal Coordination Centers in Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina for continued treatment. HHS has coordinated transport of more than 150 dialysis patients and more than 130 critical care patients not only from Puerto Rico, but also from the U.S. Virgin Islands, which was also affected by the hurricanes.

HHS personnel also are assisting in cleanup efforts, such as clearing out debris, cleaning flood-affected properties, eliminating mold, and getting rid of standing water that can attract mosquitos breeding.

Joint Commission lists five most challenging compliance requirements

The Joint Commission released its Sentinel Event statistics for the first half of 2017 and identified the five standards most frequently as noncompliant for each of its accreditation programs.

Environment of Care and Life Safety standards showed up on the list for many programs. For instance, environment of care risks associated with hazardous materials and utility systems were cited as a challenge for ambulatory care organizations. Life safety requirements, such as building and fire protections, were cited as a challenge for critical access hospitals.

CDC seeks information on water management programs to prevent Legionella

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a request for information on effective methods for achieving implementation of water management programs (WMPs) intended to reduce Legionella growth and transmission in buildings at increased risk.

CDC notes that, while a consensus standard (ASHRAE) and guidance exist regarding development and implementation of WMPs, there are gaps regarding the most effective methods to encourage WMP implementation. CDC will use the information it receives to inform efforts to prevent Legionnaires disease and other diseases caused by waterborne pathogens.

Comments are due by Oct. 17.

IAHSS releases guidance on collaborating with law enforcement in health facilities

The International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS) released a new industry guideline titled “Collaborating with Law Enforcement.”

The guidance includes key components on how health care facilities can develop good working relationships with law enforcement, such as designating a security administrator to meet periodically with law enforcement agency contacts to ensure continuity and effectiveness of their relationships. IAHSS says health care facilities also should define the process for disclosing protected health information and other sensitive data to law enforcement representatives and educate front-line staff on managing those requests.