DNV Healthcare updates accreditation standards

DNV Healthcare USA Inc. made several revisions to its National Integrated Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations® (NIAHO®) standards. Revision 23-0 includes new requirements and a deleted requirement for NIAHO’s Physical Environment Chapter. Changes include updated interpretive guidance for annual evaluations of management plans and facility equipment maintenance. Revision 24-0 focuses on ligature risk, with a new standard added to the Patient Rights (PR) Chapter. The standard, PR. 10, Care in a Safe Setting: Patients at Risk of Harm to Self or Others, covers four new requirements.

The Joint Commission clarifies spare breakers stance

The National Fire Protection Association’s Healthcare Interpretation Task Force (HITF) discussed the issue of spare electrical breakers and whether they should be switched to the “on” or “off” position last summer. The HITF’s position is that because NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code®, does not dictate a particular position, spare breakers are permitted to be switched “on” or “off” without any code violation. However, The Joint Commission has clarified its stance on the issue, stating that the organization sees it as a safety issue rather than a code issue and therefore requires its accredited organizations to toggle their spare electrical breakers onto the “off” position. Facilities that are not accredited by The Joint Commission should reference the HITF decision.

EPA issues final rule on ethylene oxide emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that will require significantly reduced emissions from commercial facilities that sterilize medical devices and other equipment using ethylene oxide (EtO) gas. Among other changes, the rule will require continuous monitoring and reporting of EtO emissions and strengthen requirements for certain types of emissions that are not currently regulated, such as room air emissions. In a departure from the proposed rule, the EPA will give commercial sterilizers additional time to comply with the requirements and will apply emission percentage reduction targets that vary by a facility’s level of EtO emissions. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register.

The Joint Commission shares top compliance challenges

The Joint Commission has shared the top five compliance challenges from eight of its accreditation programs based on surveys conducted in 2023. Although the top five requirements and corresponding elements of performance (EP) most frequently listed as noncompliant vary across the programs, there are commonalities. For instance, the Ambulatory Care, Critical Access Hospital and Hospital programs all had EPs related to control of airborne contaminants as one of their top five compliance challenges. Standards for performing intermediate and high-level disinfection and sterilization of medical equipment, devices and supplies were additional requirements frequently cited as noncompliant across several of the programs.