Archive for: September, 2009

NY healthcare workers protest required vaccines

By: September 30th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Those of you who have left comments vehemently opposing the New York state emergency regulation that requires healthcare workers to get both seasonal and H1N1 vaccines, you’ll be pleased to know you’re not alone. Several hundred healthcare workers, civil libertarians, and members of anti-vaccine groups protested the regulation in Albany on Tuesday.

The rally, however, appeared to fall on deaf ears, according to USA Today. Dr. Richard Daines, state health commissioner told reporters the arguments against the vaccine are baseless.

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Notes from the field: A Needlestick! What to do, who to call, what to draw

By: September 30th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

A needlestick is one of those injuries we never think will happen to us. We are careful, we follow all of the rules, even use the required safety needles. But, somehow it happens.

It just comes out of no where! The tiny prick, the stab of pain, and that drop of BLOOD!! What do you do?? You must know how to respond quickly and correctly.

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Camping out to prevent H1N1 transmission

By: September 30th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

As flu season swings into full force, don’t be surprised if you start seeing tents at your facility.

Of course these tents aren’t accompanied by campfires or marshmallow roasting.

Cases of H1N1 have resurfaced throughout the United States, and healthcare facilities, particularly hospitals, are using triage tents as isolation and treatment areas for patients with suspected cases of swine flu. This approach quickly separates those with H1N1 from other patients at the hospital, diminishing the spread of infection.

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Ask the expert: Exam room cleaning log

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

Q: Must my medical practice keep a log of when exam rooms are cleaned?

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Rapping about H1N1 flu prevention

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

Last week Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the winner of the 2009 H1N1 Public Service Announcement Contest.

The winner, Dr. John D. Clarke, MD, FAAFP, videotaped himself rapping about H1N1 prevention (watch it at the bottom of this post). Interestingly enough Clarke has been known to rap on camera before, plus he has released six CDs, all of which focus on various medical topics.

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Weekly Poll: Flu shot or mask?

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

Last week we wrote about a roundabout way that some major hospitals are using to “force” flu shots for healthcare workers. Essentially employees have the choice to get the flu shot or wear a mask for the entirety of their shift. Think Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, only it’s a procedural mask.

Other hospitals that have tried to enforce flu vaccines have run into trouble with unions (see Iowa University Hospitals and Clinics in that same post). Unless you have no union employees or the vaccine is state mandated, its difficult to make the flu shot a requirement of employment, which is why hospitals have turned to this loophole for help.

We’ll leave it up to you. Would you rather get a flu shot or wear a mask for every shift? Take our poll and as always, comments are welcome.

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Can Hospitals and Physician Practices Achieve a Win-Win on N95 Respirators?

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

This article appears courtesy of HealthLeaders, September 24, 2009

So much of swine flu preparation news has focused on how hospitals will cope with the pandemic that it was nice to see one organization, the American Hospital Association, sympathize with the challenges facing physician practices.

Since the spring H1N1 outbreak, the healthcare safety community has vigorously debated whether to protect healthcare workers with fit-tested N95 respirators or the more easily used surgical/procedure masks. A September 15 letter urging the CDC to quickly reverse the current recommendations favoring N95s placed the AHA firmly on the mask side of the argument, mainly for epidemiological and supply reasons.

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OIG releases pandemic preparedness reports

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

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released two reports this week, one which focused on medical surge, and another that focused on vaccine and antiviral drug distribution and dispensing.

In the first report, OIG recommended that the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) continue to emphasize the importance of:

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Notes from the field: Hide the coffee cup; the OSHA Lady is here!

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

I hear that coffee-cup-OSHA-Lady description of myself almost everyday when I visit medical practices. I am not from OSHA (Department of Labor), and I am not in your office to perform a real, reportable, OSHA inspection. I am a healthcare consultant, who specializes in OSHA compliance. As a part of your facility’s OSHA compliance program, I will perform an annual “mock” OSHA inspection.

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When workplace violence affects the lab

By: September 24th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Violence is a serious safety and health hazard in many workplaces. We saw a gruesome example of this last week with the death of a Yale graduate student that police are citing as workplace violence.

Most labs are isolated from the general public. Violence often takes place at the draw sites where the phlebotomist interacts with the public. It also may occur when disgruntled or fired workers enact revenge. Employees’ family members or friends can also become violent over a home situation and retaliate at work.

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Why “mild pandemic” is an oxymoron and other thoughts on swine flu

By: September 24th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Rising above rhetoric, invective, and government-speak surrounding swine flu, Larry Brilliant, M.D. writes a lovely post, “Love in the Time of Swine Flu: A Story in Three Acts,” for the Huffington Post, September 22, that helps put this matter into perspective.

Here are some quotes to whet your appetite.

For those who give swine flu no respect:

“Swine flu is the Rodney Dangerfield of pandemics.”

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Forcing flu shots… sort of

By: September 23rd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Three major hospitals in Okalahoma City have found a way to subtly require healthcare workers to get the seasonal flu shot, while avoiding the noise and outrage seen in New York.

The policy is simple: If you decide not to get the flu shot by October 1 you’re required to wear a surgical mask for your entire shift.

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