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“Means of egress” remains as a top Joint Commission citation

The Joint Commission released statistics this week on standards compliance through the first six months of 2010, listing the top five Joint Commission requirements that were most frequently identified as “not compliant.”

Hospital safety standards (including EC and LS) littered the top five for both critical access hospitals and the hospital setting (read Steve Mac’s reaction here).

So, it’s probably no surprise to any of you that LS.02.01.20 – in which hospitals are required to maintain the integrity of the means of egress –  made it’s way onto that list (fourth  among critical access hospitals, with 33% non-compliance, and second among hospitals, with 50% non-compliance). This has been a constant struggle for facilities, especially when safety officers are contending with tighter budgets and less storage space. [more]

Watch your fish tanks for waterborne illnesses

If you’ve ever seen Finding Nemo, you’ll know that fish tanks can get right nasty very quickly if they are not well-cared for.

That said, there’s not a ton of specific guidance on this regard; even the CDC Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities uses no stronger dictate than “avoid” when it comes to fish tanks: [more]

Embrace the ebb and flow of emergency management planning

When it comes to Joint Commission emergency management strategies and your hazard vulnerability analysis, there is room for imperfections within the confines of preparedness.

This is a constantly fluid process for which assessment and re-assessment are the order of the day, and, to be honest, the process should reflect:

  • Improvements made in your planning activities
  • Improvement opportunities
  • Any shifting variables that would impact the organization’s response capabilities

By the way, when communicating to organizational leadership as a function of the annual evaluation of your HVA, I like to prepare a summary of the HVA results in narrative form to focus attention on the key programmatic elements, vulnerabilities, etc.

Think ahead about image quality and retrieval with security cameras

I was asked recently about how to assess a hospital security camera system. I think one way of going about it would be to create an inventory, by location, of the devices you have now — cameras, DVRs, etc. — and look at each location as a function of what type and quality of image you would need if you had to respond to some sort of event.

Ask yourself these questions [more]

Be cautious about handcuff use, because CMS rules are clear

Handcuffs are a very dicey thing to undertake at this point in hospitals.

The position of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is really one of ensuring that any time handcuffs are used [more]

CT hospital used EMS manager to stay updated about energy plant explosion

I just got off the phone with Jim Hite, who is emergency planner and director of safety and security at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, CT An energy plant exploded in Middletown on Sunday afternoon, which forced the hospital to activate its emergency operations center.

The medical facility, which also rolled out the Hospital Incident Command System approach in response to the explosion, uses a nice arrangement to [more]

You may want to steer clear of The Joint Commission’s fire watch revisions

During Wednesday’s audio conference, “Physical Environment Compliance 2010: The Joint Commission’s Latest Interpretations and Survey Hotspots,” life safety consultant Brad Keyes, CHSP, of The Greeley Company raised an interesting point regarding fire watches.

The Joint Commission issued a new interpretation about fire watches last year, in which [more]

EC surveillance rounds keep you ahead of “C” scored provisions

Joint Commission surveyors generally don’t focus too much on the surveillance tour process under EC.04.01.01 unless they feel that the rounds are not doing what they need to.

My advice is to make sure that [more]

2/3 audio conference looks at lesser-known Joint Commission interpretations

We’re excited about an upcoming audio conference on February 3 at 1 p.m. Eastern that will explore Joint Commission interpretations and FAQs that you might not know a lot about.

“Physical Environment Compliance 2010: The Joint Commission’s Latest Interpretations and Survey Hotspots” will help you put these interpretations and other practical strategies to work immediately at your hospital. Here’s the full agenda for the show: [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]