ASHE members offer engineering support to Puerto Rico hospitals

Several ASHE members are working with the Sextant Foundation to provide volunteer engineering support to help restore water treatment systems in Puerto Rico that were damaged by Hurricane Maria.

ASHE members Walt Vernon, P.E., LEED AP, EDAC, and CEO of Mazzetti, and David A. Dagenais, FASHE, CHFM, CHSP, director of plant operations and security at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H., serve on the Sextant Foundation's board of directors, and are helping to raise funds and supply skilled water-systems engineers to help restore water service.

In addition to supporting the Sextant Foundation’s efforts, several other funds have been established to help those affected by recent hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida.

HHS declares public health emergency in California due to wildfires

Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Eric D. Hargan declared a public health emergency in California due to the wildfires devastating the state.

The public health emergency declaration is effective retroactively to Oct. 8.

HHS deployed four regional emergency coordinators for the area and two regional incident support team pharmacists. Staff from the HHS National Disaster Medical System, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also stand ready to provide medical care and public health support if needed.

Joint Commission emphasizes need for daily safety briefings  

The Joint Commission this month is emphasizing the importance of daily safety briefings in health care settings. The organization highlighted best practices in its Take 5 podcast.

The Joint Commission believes that safety briefings even as short as 15 minutes help to:

  • Share issues that occurred in the last 24 hours.
  • Anticipate adverse conditions or disruptions in the next 24 hours.
  • Review the steps taken to resolve previously identified issues.
  • Review resources assigned to correct newly identified issues.

FDA, Baxter take action to reduce drug shortage risk in Puerto Rico

The Food and Drug Administration is working closely with Baxter and other companies to reduce the risk of shortages of critically important drugs and to minimize impact on any existing shortages following Puerto Rico's devastation from Hurricane Maria, which is where one of Baxter’s production facilities is located.

In particular, Baxter and the FDA have closely monitored and identified ways to prevent a significant shortfall of the production of Baxter’s sodium chloride 0.9 percent injection bags from its Puerto Rico facility.

Some of the FDA’s efforts include:

  • Helping to facilitate the import of these products from the Baxter facilities in Ireland and Australia.
  • Assisting Baxter in restoring operations in its Puerto Rico facilities.
  • Continuing its work with other manufacturers to prevent or mitigate shortages of other types of critical medical products.
  • Helping manufacturers secure fuel, manufacturing supplies and the logistical support to move critical products onto and off the island.
  • Expediting reviews and approvals of other dosage forms and generic versions of products as alternate sources.