ASHE certification helps workers prepare

The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) last year launched a new certification to help workers in facility management and construction understand the complexities of the health care physical environment and to aid hospitals in reducing risks associated with construction. ASHE’s Certified Health Care Physical Environment Worker program, commonly referred to as the ASHE worker certification, covers important topics like construction in health care facilities; infection control and prevention; fire and life safety; and utility system shutdowns with a keen focus on patient safety.

AHA urges USP to delay dates for new guidelines

The American Hospital Association (AHA) in December urged the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) to delay by at least 18 months the effective dates for its general chapter <797> pharmaceutical compounding and general chapter <800> hazardous drug handling in health care settings, as well as proposed revisions to general chapter <797>. “USP guidelines play a critical role in keeping our hospital staffs and the patients they care for safe,” AHA wrote. “However, we reiterate concerns we have previously shared regarding the compliance challenges that these two sections create.” Specifically, the proposed changes to general chapter <797> may impact or modify efforts by hospitals and health systems to comply with chapter <800>; the guidelines involve large capital investments, in some cases the construction of entirely new buildings; and the timeline has resulted in high demand for contractors and supplies, making it challenging for all facilities to comply by the effective date, AHA stated. The current implementation date is Dec. 1, 2019.

Joint Commission NPSG addresses suicide

The Joint Commission in December announced revisions to its National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG), addressing suicide prevention to improve quality and safety of care for patients treated for behavioral health conditions and those identified as being a high risk for suicide. Applicable to all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and behavioral health care organizations, the revised requirements are based on more than a year of research, public field review and analysis with multiple panels convened by The Joint Commission and representing provider organizations, experts in suicide prevention and behavioral health care facility design, and other key stakeholders across the United States. In addition to behavioral interventions, NPSG 15.01.01 “Reduce the risk for suicide” also addresses environmental-risk assessment and action to minimize suicide risk. It becomes effective July 1.

ASPR highlights active-shooter resources

In the wake of November’s shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response encouraged medical facilities to review their 2017 planning-and-response guide for active-shooter incidents in health care settings, and other resources to help emergency medical professionals plan for and respond to the changing nature of mass shootings and explosive events. “There have been at least five shootings in or near medical facilities this year,” the agency stated in a communication to health care and public health sector partners. “It is critical for you to prepare your facility and staff as thoroughly as possible through your emergency-response planning.”