Information on what you should know about regulated medical waste (RMW), your contract for services, and how your contractor can help you be in compliance with federal state regulations is the focus of the November issue of Medical Environment Update .
Here is what the feature article covers:
- Who’s in charge? Who oversees regulated medical waste both inside and outside your facility?
- Bells and whistles are expensive. How do you pay for what you really need and how to avoid paying for what you don’t need?
- The RMW man cometh…maybe too soon. Signs that your service does not match your volume.
- Red flags for red bag deals. Protecting your interest requires a contract.
- Sensible ways to cut costs. Think alternatives. Maybe that big truck isn’t what you need every month.
- Disposing of extra costs in RMW contracts.  Getting down and dirty in knowing your RMW generation and disposal needs.
- Doing your own thing, RMW-wise. Some people do it…literally take out their own RMW garbage.
Here is an excerpt from that article and a look at what else is covered in the November issue.
Safety officers in medical and dental practices wear many hats, and if one of those hats covers regulated medical waste (RMW) issues, you know that answers are not always easy to obtain. That’s because RMW can be an OSHA matter or a state hazardous waste issue, with each state having its own regulations.
Who’s in charge?
Anything involving RMW and employee safety within the practice in the delivery of care is a federal or state OSHA concern. State oversight affects how RMW is packaged, handled, transported, and treated. Your RMW contractor should be able to advise on these state-specific guidelines, says Wes Sonnier, president of BioMedical Waste Solutions  in Port Arthur, TX.
Sonnier, whose RMW company services healthcare facilities in Texas and Louisiana, believes RMW contractors are a resource that safety officers often overlook when dealing with regulations. In fact, a good contractor should be willing to fax or e-mail those regulations to you—and you shouldn’t have to pay premium rates for that extra bit of service.
Bells and whistles are expensive
One of the things Sonnier sees that drives up the cost of RMW is medical and dental practices contracting for too much service. Service packages that include OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens monitoring and compliance may be useful, he says, but you pay more for them—such packages are calculated into the contracted rate. What’s more, most medical and dental practices can do these things on their own. The annual cost of the OSHA compliance program probably exceeds what you’d spend on a good OSHA compliance binder of policies and procedures, Sonnier says.
The Medical Environment Update  November issue also includes:
- Vital stats: OSHA fines by healthcare facility type 
- CDC: Change N95 use for flu protection
- OSHA closes out FY inspection stats; increase for medical practices, drop for dental practices 
- Self-inspection checklist: Top 100-plus MSDSs needed for your facility
- Ask the expert Q&As on: Scented candles in medical practices; paying for the HBV titer ; alcohol as an EPA-registered disinfectant.
- A true/false quiz designed to test your understanding of OSHA standards and government regulatory guidelines that apply to healthcare facilities 
- Updates to your OSHA Program Manual on postexposure evaluations and follow-up, respiratory protection for influenza, MSDS retention
- A special report: Lettering in OSHA Compliance: Essential OSHA interpretation letters for medical and dental practices
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