Be aware that as COVID-19 cases are declining and vaccination rates are climbing, the emergency waivers and measures approved by the federal government to get through the public health emergency (PHE) will be changing. The FDA sent a notice to hospitals and others April 9 encouraging healthcare organizations to start moving away from the emergency measures taken to preserve and reuse medical devices and other supplies early in the PHE.
CMS sent out a statement noting that federal and state surveyors must be permitted entry unless they show symptoms of the coronavirus as outlined in earlier infection control guidance regarding surveys. The statement apparently was in answer to a query from The Joint Commission (TJC), which was acting on the behalf of someone else, according to the Health Facilities Management Insider.
Effective now, CMS surveyors are resuming hospital surveys on the limited basis as set out in a Quality, Safety & Oversight Group memo last August. Up first are uninvestigated complaints, with a target survey within 45 days.
TJC reminded organizations that, according to its Quick Safety Report No. 40, issued in 2018, “Preventing newborn falls and drops,” that maternal risk factors for infant falls included problems related to Cesarean birth, use of pain medication within four hours, issues on the second or third postpartum night, specifically midnight to early morning hours, and drowsiness associated with breastfeeding.
In a statement in its Joint Commission Online weekly publication, TJC noted that COVID-19 caseloads have been decreasing. “The Joint Commission will return to its usual procedures prior to the pandemic. Organizations will no longer be receiving a phone call or email from their account executive when it has been determined the area is low risk for The Joint Commission’s accreditation survey team to visit. All available resources will be utilized to conduct onsite, unannounced accreditation surveys.”
Be sure to check the “What’s New for 2021” section. Many of the updates, such as the elimination of the Environment of Care session, are not unexpected. Other items did not change, such as the documents that will be requested on the first day of survey.
Now more than ever, healthcare provider organizations can benefit from leveraging the broad value of accreditation. Many people associate accreditation solely with compliance and the survey experience, but with the right partner, accreditation is the source of a business relationship that can help drive performance improvement, operating efficiencies, and risk management—all aspects of a successful business growth strategy—while maintaining regulatory compliance.
In a memo initially issued January 20 to CMS’ state survey agencies (SA) and revised on February 18, the federal overseer of Medicare said it was directing accreditation organizations (AO) to also limit hospital surveys based on certain criteria. However, in many cases hospitals still may be subject to their regular onsite, triennial reaccreditation survey. And they will be unannounced, as usual.
The proposal could lead to changes in labels and SDSs employers would receive. For example, the agency is proposing a new provision for small container labels for containers with a capacity less than or equal to 100 milliliters (ml). Such labels would be required to include, at a minimum, a product identifier; a pictogram(s); a signal word; the chemical manufacturer’s name and phone number; and a statement that the full label information for the hazardous chemical is provided on the immediate outer package.
This action is expected to “address issues that arose during the implementation of the 2012 update to the HCS, and provide better alignment with other U.S. agencies and international trading partners, without lowering overall protections of the standard,” according to OSHA’s proposed rulemaking.