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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

9/16 webinar on how IC ties into employee safety

7823_largeWe’ve got a great Webinar coming up on Wednesday called “Developing an Effective IC Program to Ensure Employee Health and Safety,” which takes place at 1 p.m. Eastern. You can also order it on-demand and watch it at your convenience if the initial broadcast time doesn’t fit into your schedule.

Among the topics our experts will discuss include how employee health ties into:

  • CDC guidelines and OSHA standards for staff member immunization
  • Personal protective equipment and respiratory protection
  • Screening and exposure protocols

This show is part of our series, Infection Prevention Core Training.

The challenges that tie healthcare facilities back to 9/11

Back in 2001, I remember talking to quite a few hospital safety officers and emergency planners about the way the world had changed after 9/11. It wasn’t just the hijacked jets in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania — soon after, the nation was in the midst of anthrax attacks via the mail and there was also concern about potential smallpox bioterrorism.

Yet I re-read some of the articles I wrote at the time and was struck by [more]

Take our poll about the H1N1 vaccine for healthcare workers

As I’m sure you’ve heard in your hospital hallways, there’s a lot of talk about the safety and effectiveness of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine.

The CDC has put healthcare workers who have contact with patients as one of the top priority groups to receive the H1N1 shots when they become available.

We’ve got a poll up on our main HCPro site asking whether you will get an H1N1 vaccine. Click here and then scroll to the bottom of the page to take the poll.

Let us know what you think, and I’ll report back on the results in a few days.

New York Times story is a “must read” for emergency planners

The New York Times just published a sad yet enlightening account of what happened at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

Many of you will remember that Memorial Medical was isolated and without power for days as employees and patients suffered through terrible conditions in the sweltering heat. Much of the story focused on allegations of clinicians euthanizing [more]

ASHE may have “had it up to here” with CMS when it comes to damper testing

You can really sense the frustration that ASHE — and more precisely, that of Deputy Executive Director Doug Erickson — has with CMS these days. Just read the latest ASHE bulletin to its members about six-year damper testing and you’ll feel the bad vibes. [more]

H1N1 call brings up hospital access control, sick employees

I listened in on a CMS open forum conference call this afternoon about H1N1 preparedness in healthcare facilities, and the topic of infection control in hospitals came up.

A CDC representative noted that [more]

New fall seminars about life safety and emergency management

We’re happy to announce two brand new professional development seminars that will focus on the hot topics of Life Safety Code compliance and emergency managment: [more]

Check out our hospital safety ‘tweets’ on Twitter

I finally stepped fully into 2009 and have begun sending updates via the Twitter social networking site. You can see for yourself at

For those unfamiliar with Twitter, at its core is the ability for users to post short, 140-character updates — known as “tweets” — about what they’re doing. You can keep track of other people’s tweets you’re interested in (i.e., folks you’re “following”) and also see who’s reading your tweets (i.e., who your “followers” are). You need to be registered with Twitter to follow someone’s tweets.

While in some ways Twitter comes across as “too much information,” it is a useful tool to bring news to you, rather than you having to search it out every day.

For example, this week I’ve tweeted about the risk of exposed sprinkler pipes and how hospital engineers can help their CEOs identify inefficiencies. Also, I’m sticking with the topic at hand, hospital safety and environment of care — you won’t see posts from me about the food I ate at lunch or what scenes I most enjoy from Glengarry Glen Ross.

Congrats go out to the winner of our ASHE exhibit booth raffle


Winner Antonio Suarez with HCPro's Amy Jones

Congratulations are in order for Antonio Suarez, director of facilities services at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake in Dallas, who won a $200 American Express gift card during our booth raffle at ASHE this week.

Antonio is pictured with Amy Jones, a product marketing director here at HCPro.

Brad Keyes, life safety consultant with the Greeley Company, took the photo. I ran for cover when Brad grabbed his camera.

Thanks to everyone else who stopped by our booth to talk about hospital safety and environment of care concerns  — we enjoyed meeting all of you.

Security best practices noted at the ASHE conference

I just sat in on a great session by hospital security expert Fred Roll of Healthcare Security Consultants. Here are a few tidbits from his presentation: [more]