The Joint Commission returns to in-person surveys

Over the past year, most traditional on-site surveys have been delayed or interrupted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Now that the caseloads across the country are decreasing, effective March 15, The Joint Commission (TJC) began returning to usual procedures pre-pandemic, including unannounced survey team visits. TJC stated that hospitals will no longer be receiving phone calls or emails when it has been determined that the area is low risk for its survey team to visit, and hospitals should continue to monitor the Notification of Scheduled Events section of their Joint Commission Connect® page for notification.

NFPA codes 99 and 101 open for public comment 

The first drafts of the 2024 editions of the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, and NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, are open for public input until June 1. The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) is encouraging its members and others in the health care facilities community to submit input addressing any concerns they may have. ASHE has developed helpful “how-to” videos at for members needing guidance on how to submit public comments. Also, ASHE’s Regulatory Affairs Committee has been tasked to help submit additional comments on behalf of the ASHE membership that directly benefits patient and staff safety. 

ASHE alerts field to ligature risks

The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) has been made aware that wall-hung toilets can be a ligature risk where those fixtures serve spaces designated for suicide watch where one-on-one observation can’t be provided. On certain styles of wall-hung toilets, ligatures can be tied around the back of the toilet and/or the flushing mechanisms. Although these toilets could be a risk, ASHE says The Joint Commission is not citing these conditions when found and is not asking that the toilets be replaced. When replacing toilets that serve these areas, however, health care facilities managers should be aware that not all “ligature-resistant” toilets are as such. Toilets should be considered in the overall risk assessment for these designated spaces.

3M releases guidance on counterfeit N95 respirators

After receiving increasing reports of fraud related to three 3M surgical respirator models, the company has released guidance to help those purchasing personal protective equipment to identify counterfeit respirators. The three models at risk include: 3M Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1860; 3M Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1860S; and 3M Aura Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1870+. These have included reports of fake/counterfeit product as well as fraudulent offers where product is offered but not delivered. 3M has been working with law enforcement to get counterfeit respirators off the market. These enforcement actions have resulted in the seizure of millions of counterfeit respirators. 3M says that all three models imported into the U.S. from any other country are likely to be counterfeit.