EC chapter revisions cover life safety issues

Effective July 1, The Joint Commission has approved several revisions to the Environment of Care (EC) chapter for hospitals, critical access hospitals, ambulatory health care organizations, assisted living communities, behavioral health and human services organizations, home care organizations, nursing care centers and office-based surgery practices. The chapter revisions cover National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes, storage tanks and harm reports involving medical equipment. The changes vary across accreditation programs. Some of the changes include new and revised elements of performance (EPs) that clarify and/or strengthen expectations for accredited organizations as they relate to the NFPA codes 

AHA to help strengthen emergency preparedness 

The American Hospital Association recently announced a five-year partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to strengthen and re-imagine the emergency management system for the nation’s health care and public health preparedness, response and recovery efforts for disasters and other emergencies. The multimillion dollar, five-year funding period through the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response is focused on community health resilience, national health security lessons learned from the ongoing pandemic and providing technical assistance across sectors. 

CMS issues statement clarifying co-location guidance

In response to an American Hospital Association request for clarification, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released more information to clarify how its recently updated guidance on hospital co-location with other hospitals or health care facilities might apply to critical access hospitals (CAHs) and physician offices. David Wright, director of CMS’s quality, safety and oversight group, stated that the recently issued hospital co-location guidance from CMS is not applicable to CAHs due to the regulatory requirements that they be at least 35 miles or 15 miles by secondary roads or mountainous terrain from another acute care hospital. The full “Guidance for Hospital Co-location with Other Hospitals or Healthcare Facilities (Revised)” is on CMS’s website. 

CMS to restart its validation redesign pilot for 2022

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its annual report, “Review of Medicare’s Program Oversight of Accrediting Organizations (AOs) and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) Validation Program,” which details fiscal year (FY) 2019 activities of the approved AO’s Medicare accreditation programs as well as the CLIA Validation Program. CMS reports disparity in hospital surveys, noting that state agencies (SAs) identify more physical environment condition-level deficiencies than any other type of deficiency on validation surveys. With this concern, CMS says in the report that the validation redesign pilot program, in which a SA surveyor has direct observation of AO surveyors, is tentatively scheduled to restart in FY 2022.