RSSAuthor Archive for Scott Wallask

Scott Wallask

Scott Wallask is senior managing editor for HCPro's Hospital Safety Center ( and the award-winning newsletters, Briefings on Hospital Safety and Healthcare Life Safety Compliance. He has written about healthcare for HCPro since 1998, with a focus on occupational and building safety, emergency management, fire protection, and infection control. Prior to joining HCPro, he worked as a reporter for several newspapers in eastern Massachusetts. He holds a BA in print journalism, magna cum laude, from Northeastern University in Boston. Contact Scott at

New development: CMS now allows six-year damper testing in hospitals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memo to its state survey agencies that now formally allows hospitals to use six-year testing frequencies for fire and smoke dampers.

What’s that mean for hospitals? [more]

Doctor stabbed: When something goes wrong, security feels the heat

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston finds itself in the unenviable position of trying to deal with a pair of high-profile security incidents within the past nine days. [more]

Try a free sample of our customizable paper patients

After months of development, we’re happy to announce our new Emergency Preparedness Solutions series, which we think you’ll like.

The highlight for me, because it’s something I’ve wanted to see us publish for a long time, is a collection of 80 paper patients that are customizable to your hospital’s drill or triage efforts. [more]

In halting mandatory flu shots, NY had to step back

For now, the war drums in New York state can stop beating. In an about-face, New York Governor David Paterson announced yesterday that healthcare workers in the state will no longer be required to receive seasonal or H1N1 flu vaccinations as a condition of employment.

Let’s be blunt: It’s hard to win a battle against nurses. They collectively fuel the engine that runs healthcare, and they also possess a powerful voice. Some nurses get flu shots, some don’t. What New York’s initial rule and subsequent backtracking show [more]

CDC revisions continue to recommend N95 use, but acknowledge supply shortages

The CDC issued revised interim guidelines yesterday to protect healthcare workers from the H1N1 swine flu virus.

The biggest news is that the CDC continues to recommend that healthcare workers wear N95 respirators when [more]

Former Joint Commission VP among those appearing at our one-day emergency management conference

Joseph Cappiello

Joseph Cappiello

Get help analyzing your hospital’s disaster plans while also bolstering your professional development during HCPro’s Emergency Management Coordinator’s Workshop, which takes place October 26 in Atlanta.

Our experts for the program include:

  • Joseph Cappiello, chair of Cappiello & Associates in Elmhurst, IL, and former vice president for accreditation field operations at The Joint Commission
  • James Kendig, vice president of safety and security for Health First, Inc., based in Rockledge, FL
  • Mary Russell, senior hospital project manager at the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Public Health Preparedness

Click here to read our speakers’ full bios and our show’s agenda.

Ultimate fighting star’s alleged assaults reinforce the danger of healthcare work

The subject of workplace violence in hospitals rose out of the weeds again yesterday with word that a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star had been arrested for allegedly assaulting three nurses at a hospital in Nevada on Tuesday.

Fighter Junie Browning, who was fired by UFC following his arrest, originally went to St. Rose Dominican Hospital’s [more]

A deadly surgical fire results in CMS scrutiny

The case of Heartland Regional Medical Center in Marion, IL, shows just how important surgical fire prevention is for a hospital in terms of bad publicity and Medicare reimbursement.

As noted in my HealthLeaders Media story last month, on September 2 a flash fire occurred on a patient undergoing surgery at Heartland Regional. That patient later died of her injuries.

I just read earlier today [more]

Here’s a way to increase life safety awareness among nurses

Brad Keyes

Brad Keyes

One of my favorite sessions at last week’s Life Safety Code Solutions for Hospitals seminar was a discussion about how to better engage nurses about life safety requirements.

The key, said Brad Keyes, safety consultant for The Greeley Company, is to bring the Life Safety Code into the realm of patient safety.

And that means, for example, not ordering nurses to take a blood pressure cuff machine out of the corridor because it encroaches on minimum clear widths under the Life Safety Code. Nurses won’t relate to rules like that.

Instead, a better approach would be [more]

Poll results: At least 25% of workers won’t get H1N1 shots

If you didn’t catch our update in last week’s Hospital Safety Connection e-newsletter, I wanted to briefly mention the results of our informal H1N1 poll that we conducted on the main site.

In short, one in four respondents said they would not get an H1N1 swine flu shot as part of their work duties. Click here for full details on the results.