FCC to consider $100 million for telehealth

The Federal Communications Commission will seek to establish a new $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program to support telehealth for low-income Americans, especially those living in rural areas and veterans, Commissioner Brendan Carr announced recently. The commission will vote at its meeting this month on a notice seeking comment on budgeting $100 million in Universal Service Fund support for the program. “I want to thank Chairman Pai who, as the son of two doctors, appreciates the role that telemedicine plays in connecting rural communities to health care opportunities,” Carr said.

ASHE calls out for data from the field

The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) is seeking the assistance of facility professionals who can provide the data required for considering and recommending changes to codes. Just as data were used several years ago to justify a change of damper-inspection frequency for health care occupancies from every four years to every six years, ASHE’s goal is to determine whether advocacy efforts can help to reduce the burden on busy health facility professionals as it relates to elevator-recall testing, exit-sign inspections and fire-extinguisher inspections. The electronic survey forms for the three topics can be accessed on Health Facilities Management’s website.

ASPR highlights mass-shooting readiness

In a recent “Technical Resources, Assistance Center and Information Exchange” newsletter, the Department of Health & Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response shares lessons learned related to pre-hospital care, trauma and emergency response from mass shootings at a large outdoor concert, nightclub and place of worship. It includes interviews with first responders and emergency department personnel, among others.

Cuts to hospitals to total $218 billion by 2028

Federal payment reductions to hospitals will reach $218.2 billion by 2028, according to a report released June 14 by the health care economics firm Dobson DaVanzo and Associates. Commissioned by the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals, the study looked at how 11 pieces of legislation combined with numerous regulatory changes would affect hospital funding from 2010 through 2028.

ASHE blocks change to sprinkler standard

Leaders of the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) successfully advocated against a proposed change that it says could have negatively affected fire safety in health care facilities. At the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Conference & Expo in June, ASHE’s advocacy team argued against a change to NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, that would have allowed vestibules less than 150 square feet in new construction to omit sprinklers. Although this change sounds beneficial, there were conditions that could have caused conflict. First, the space could never contain combustible items, which would be difficult to manage in a health care setting. This could lead to an increase in citations for hospitals, taking scarce resources away. Additionally, ASHE believes that allowing unsprinklered areas sets an undesired precedent. ASHE says hospitals have a positive fire-safety record and the change could undermine work in this area.