Archive for: May, 2009

Ask the expert: Aquariums and waiting rooms

By: May 29th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Is an aquarium allowed in the waiting room of a medical office?

A: The CDC Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities does not prohibit aquariums in waiting areas. However, it recommends against having such features in patient care areas.

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Notes From the field: What’s that smell; why are my eyes burning?

By: May 28th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

The culprit was an open container of the high level disinfectant glutaraldehyde. The minute I stepped into the lab of a physician’s practice, I could smell the glutaraldehyde solution. There was a large basin sitting in the sink piled high with metal instruments.

This mixture should ALWAYS be kept in a tightly closed bin/container.

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New CMS IC requirements are useful for anyone

By: May 27th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

As of May 18, 2009 (a little over a week ago), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require that Medicare-certified ambulatory surgery centers meet the 2009 Conditions for Coverage (CfC). Just recently, CMS revised its State Operations Manual (SOM) Appendix L – Guidance for Surveyors: Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC), which provides detailed guidance for the conditions, and improvements to the ASC survey process. 

Highlighted in these new CfCs are a number of requirements concerning infection control. Below is a brief overview of the IC-specific conditions:

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Safe patient lifting law proposal to get another look from Congress

By: May 26th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Congress will again consider a national safe patient handling and lifting law, the third time in three years, but this time the political climate might be more receptive.

Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Michigan, introduced the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 2381) on May 13. The bill calls for OSHA to promulgate a standard within two years.

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Weekly Poll: Safe patient handling

By: May 25th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

For the third time, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Michigan, introduced the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 2381) on May 13. The bill calls for OSHA to create standards within the next two years that protect healthcare workers.

Do you think there should be a safe patient lifting and handling law?

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Aerosol transmissible disease standard approved for California

By: May 22nd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

In what might be a harbinger for a federal law, California adopted the first standard designed to protect workers from aerosol transmitted diseases in the workplace, such as TB, SARS, measles, and pandemic influenza.

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NIOSH proposes additions to hazardous list drug list

By: May 22nd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

NIOSH has posted the proposed additions to its hazardous drug list in healthcare settings, which was last updated September 2004.

The list, which is undergoing public review until June 30 identifies 24 new pharmaceuticals that fit the NIOSH definition of hazardous drugs. One drug, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin, will be removed from the 2004 list.

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Ventilation in the autopsy suite

By: May 21st, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

I recently received a question regarding air exchanges in Anatomic Pathology (AP) laboratories and the autopsy suite and the dangers of formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is the primary preservative used in AP labs and autopsy suites. Usually it is used in it’s diluted form (10% formalin), but still requires environmental monitoring if it exceeds the action level of 0.5 parts per million. You can monitor employee exposure to hazardous chemicals such as formalin and xylene annually by using a representative sampling strategy.

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Where to wear scrubs

By: May 20th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

For years now, there has been an ongoing debate, fueled mostly by a lack of hard data, about whether or not scrubs should be worn outside the facility’s walls, or even more so, laundered at home instead of on-site.

According to Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) “Recommended Practices for Surgical Attire,” scrubs are worn to “promote high-level cleanliness and hygiene within the practice setting.” Therefore, AORN does not recommend home laundering of surgical attire.

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CDC says, avoid party animals

By: May 20th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

With Memorial Day weekend just a few days away, you may be planning a celebratory party or cookout.

That’s fine by the CDC, as long as it doesn’t involve direct and intended exposure to swine flu.

It’s no joke. Among its many recommendations for healthcare workers, patients, and citizens, the CDC has included a set of guidelines for those of you gearing up for a spring swine flu shin-dig.

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Cal/OSHA fines Wal-Mart for hepatitis blue light special

By: May 19th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

You might expect reports of needlesticks in healthcare but not so with retail sales clerks.

That Cal/OSHA is fining a Yuba City, CA, Wal-Mart for alleged bloodborne pathogens violations with a contaminated price-tagging gun instructs on how businesses must be diligent in identifying hazards in the workplace.

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Weekly Poll: OSHA enforcement

By: May 18th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

In a testimony before the House Education and Labor Committee regarding influenza preparedness, acting assistant secretary of OSHA, Jordan Barab said that OSHA is prepared to us its authority to enforce safe work practices during a pandemic.

On the other hand, a pandemic puts an incredible strain on a facility’s resources, and in some cases improvisation is the best option.

What do you think? Should OSHA continue stringent enforcement during a pandemic?

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