The Joint Commission revises some standards

As part of its efforts to better align with the Conditions of Participation for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), The Joint Commission has announced another series of changes, some of which will affect facilities managers working for critical access hospitals (CAHs). The first of the changes made in this effort was announced in January 2023, and a second round of revisions went into effect Aug. 27. The changes affect six different accreditation programs, but the ones most impacting facilities managers are revisions and deletions in the Environment of Care Chapter for CAHs. 

White House creates pandemic preparedness office

The Biden administration established the White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy, which will take over the duties of the current White House COVID-19 Response Team and Mpox Team and coordinate and develop policies and priorities related to pandemic preparedness and response. Effective Aug. 7, retired Major General Paul Friedrichs will serve as the office’s inaugural director and principal adviser on pandemic preparedness and response. The Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy will coordinate the administration’s domestic response to public health threats that have pandemic potential or may cause significant disruption.

IAHSS releases new industry guideline

The International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) released new industry guideline 04.11, Security Operations Centers in Healthcare, to help organizations unify and coordinate security tools, practices and response to security incidents. The guideline identifies topics such as benefits, performance, staffing considerations, communication and standard operating procedures. As health care facilities and systems centralize security technologies (such as cameras, access control, duress/panic buttons and patient protection systems), the guideline is designed to help improve communications, situational awareness, threat detection and response to security incidents, improving confidence in security programs.

The Joint Commission issues cybersecurity alert

The Joint Commission has issued a new Sentinel Event Alert, “Preserving patient safety after a cyberattack.” The alert focuses on risks associated with cyberattacks and provides recommendations on how health care organizations can prepare to deliver safe patient care in the event of a cyberattack. The alert stresses that preparing for a cybersecurity incident should not only concern hospital information technology staff, but all hospital staff. Actions suggested in the alert include creating an interdisciplinary team to mobilize during unanticipated downtime events, and training team leaders, their respective teams and all staff on how to operate during downtimes.