The Joint Commission updates fire prevention alert 

The Joint Commission recently updated Sentinel Event Alert 68, which provides information on preventing surgical fires. The updated alert replaces the former one that was published in 2003. The alert presses health care facilities to recommit to fire safety in surgical suites by creating awareness of and carefully monitoring the elements of the “fire triangle”: oxygen, ignition sources and fuel. The alert references Environment of Care standards guiding surgical fire prevention and includes suggestions to help comply with the standards and prevent fire, such as maintaining local oxygen concentration at less than 30%.

HHS alerts field to cybersecurity vulnerability

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urged health care organizations to patch a critical vulnerability in Cisco’s Emergency Responder communications platform that allows a cyberattacker to completely compromise a vulnerable system and use it for further attacks across an enterprise network. The Cisco Emergency Responder runs on top of the Cisco Unified Communications Manager, also known as Cisco Call Manager. The responder supports emergency call routing, database management and location tracking. The HHS Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center recommends health care organizations identify vulnerable systems in their infrastructure and prioritize software updates.

The Joint Commission launches voluntary certification

The Joint Commission introduced a voluntary Sustainable Healthcare Certification (SHC) program for U.S. hospitals, effective Jan. 1, 2024. The program was created based on requests from health care organizations that want to accelerate their sustainable practices and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The SHC program, available to Joint Commission-accredited and non-Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals, provides a framework to help organizations begin, continue or expand their decarbonization efforts and receive public recognition for their commitment and achievements in contributing to environmental sustainability. 

ASHE advocacy leader joins ICC committee

The International Code Council (ICC) Board selected Jonathan Flannery, MHSA, CHFM, FASHE, FACHE, senior associate director of advocacy at the American Society for Health Care Engineering, as a member of the 2024 International Fire Code (IFC) Code Development Committee for the upcoming 2024-2026 Code Development Cycle. The code development committee evaluates and makes recommendations regarding proposed changes to ICC codes. The committee’s suggestions are then subject to public comment and councilwide votes. ICC’s governmental members cast the final votes on proposed changes. The IFC is designed to meet the need for a modern, up-to-date fire code through model code regulations that protect the public health and safety of all communities, large and small.