On May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued interim guidance that recommends diagnosing Zika virus via real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction, a highly specific method that can be performed rapidly. Based on new data, CDC recommends testing urine collected less than 14 days after symptom onset, along with patient-matched serum samples collected less than seven days after symptom onset. CDC will continue to review and update guidance for Zika virus testing as new data becomes available.
CHA and the Regional Associations have developed a health care cybersecurity at-a-glance document, intended to be a resource for health care organizations as they address cybersecurity. Due to the rising risk of cyberattacks, hospitals are encouraged to review this information and work with their information management teams to identify resources necessary for a strong cybersecurity defense and comprehensive hazard vulnerability analysis.
The Clinical Infectious Disease journal has published guidelines for implementing an antibiotic stewardship program, authored by the Infectious Disease Association of America and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week issued an emergency use authorization for a Zika virus diagnostic tool that will be distributed to qualified laboratories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will begin distributing the test during the next two weeks to qualified laboratories in the Laboratory Response Network; the test will not be available in U.S. hospitals or other primary care settings. The tool — Trioplex Real-time RT-PCR Assay — allows doctors to tell if an individual is currently infected with chikungunya, dengue, or Zika using one test, instead of having to perform three separate tests to determine which infection a patient might have. More information is available on the CDC website.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week issued guidance recommending standard health care precautions – including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – in all health care settings to prevent potential spreading of Zika virus. The guidance notes the precautions should be in place at all times, regardless of whether infection has been confirmed, because individuals infected with the virus are often asymptomatic. The guidance also details standard precautions and other prevention strategies specific to labor and delivery settings. Based on the premise that all body fluids might contain transmissible infectious agents, the standard precautions include hand hygiene, use of PPE, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, safe injection practices and safe handling of potentially contaminated equipment or surfaces. Additionally, CDC directs health care providers to use soap and water or alcohol-based products before and after a patient contact and after removing PPE, including gloves.
Managing risk in a hospital is hard. In many situations, the laws aren’t clear or conflict — but a decision has to be made anyway. The annual Consent Law seminar is the one educational program that will expand your knowledge and critical thinking to help you make tough decisions with confidence. As an added bonus, all attendees take home a free copy of CHA’s 2016 Consent Manual.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services will host a Dec. 14 webinar on the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program, addressing surgical site infection rates for colon surgeries and abdominal hysterectomies within the Hospital VBP program. The webinar will include health care-associated infection standard population updates from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and methods to improve surgical site infection standardized infection ratios. Webinar slides will be available for download from www.qualityreportingcenter.com under “Upcoming Events” the day before the presentation. Registration is available online.
The California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) program has implemented a voluntary surgical site infection (SSI) validation program. The program aims to help hospitals better assess the quality and accuracy of their SSI data.
All hospitals are eligible to participate; CDPH will identify hospitals as participating or non-participating in the next HAI report, published in the fall of 2016. When the report is published, CDPH will request a site visit at each hospital that did not participate in validation, as well as at each hospital in need of surveillance and reporting assistance, as indicated by the validation findings. The deadline to sign up and submit validation reports is Dec. 4. For information about the 2015 SSI validation process, visit www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/hai/Pages/2015SSIvalidation.aspx. For questions, contact HAIProgram@cdph.ca.gov.
Gov. Brown has signed into law AB 679 (Allen, Chapter 778, Statutes of 2015), extending the deadline for registering with the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). Previous law required that all pharmacists and health care practitioners who are authorized to prescribe, order, administer, furnish or dispense Schedule II, III or IV controlled substances register with CURES by Jan. 1, 2016. Practitioners now have until July 1, 2016 to register. More information is available on the California Prescription Drug Monitoring Program website.
California Public Protection & Physician Health, Inc. (CPPPH), in collaboration with the UC San Diego Physician Assessment and Clinical Education (PACE) program, has announced its 2015 project on evaluations of physicians. The project includes a workshop that will be offered in both northern California (Nov. 21) and southern California (Dec. 5), as well as a certificate of completion for those who prepare evaluations and wish to show that they have completed all steps of the CPPPH project. CHA is a joint founder of CPPPH, along with the California Medical Association, the California Society of Addiction Medicine and the California Psychiatric Association. The organization was founded to address the need for focused education, technical advice and consultation for medical staff and medical groups in support of physician health activities. For more information on the workshops and CPPPH, see the attached brochure.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has notified providers that it has resolved technical problems with the Clozapine Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy Program, and that prescribers and pharmacies should now be able to complete their online certification for the program. Clozapine is a medication for schizophrenia, and last month the FDA issued new monitoring, prescribing, dispensing and receiving requirements, attempting to address concerns about a serious blood condition called neutropenia that is sometimes associated with the medication. If prescribers or pharmacists encounter additional problems with the program, they should contact the FDA at (844) 267-8678.
An HVAC task force, whose members include the American Hospital Association’s American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), has issued the attached interim guidance to help health care facilities maintain appropriate temperature and humidity control in operating rooms and sterile processing departments while it works to achieve consensus on conflicting standards. Among other actions, the task force said it plans to explain the conflicting standards to accreditors and state licensing agencies and ask them to work with health care organizations to establish a plan for resolving variance.
In addition to ASHE, task force members include the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers; Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation; Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology; Association of periOperative Registered Nurses; and the Facility Guidelines Institute.
The Joint Commission yesterday released a Sentinel Event Alert examining the contributing factors to patient falls and offering suggested solutions health care organizations can implement to help reduce them. The Joint Commission defines a sentinel event as a patient safety event (not primarily related to the natural course of the patient’s illness or underlying condition) that reaches a patient and results in death, permanent harm or severe temporary harm where intervention is required to sustain life.
The Jefferson College of Population Health (JCPH) is now accepting applications for the Hearst Health Prize for Excellence in Population Health. Finalists for the award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in managing or improving population health, will be invited to present their project at next year’s Population Health Colloquium in Philadelphia. The Hearst Health Prize was created to discover, support and showcase the work of an individual, group or institution that has successfully implemented a population health program that has made a measurable difference in improving health outcomes. For more information and to apply, visit the JCPH website.
The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare last week debuted the Preventing Falls Targeted Solutions Tool (Preventing Falls TST) to help hospitals reduce the number of patient falls. Over the past four years the commission has worked with several hospitals, including one in California, to develop a system for assessing whether a patient is at risk for falling and created 21 different solutions to address the common risk factors associated with falls. Using the Preventing Falls TST, pilot hospitals were able to reduce all falls by about 35 percent and those resulting in injury by 62 percent. More information is available on the Joint Commission website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will host a clinician call Aug. 20 to discuss work being done to implement a coordinated approach to protect patients from carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). The call, titled “CRE and C. difficile: Is Your Healthcare Facility Implementing the Necessary Approach to Stop the Spread?”, is open to all hospitals and will feature testimony from clinical experts on preventing antibiotic-resistant infections and improving antibiotic stewardship. For more information, visit http://emergency.cdc.gov/coca/calls/2015/callinfo_082015.asp.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated the Law and Policy page on its Open Payments website with information about new reporting requirements for continuing medical education (CME) in the 2015 Medicare physician fee schedule final rule. In October 2014, CMS eliminated the exemption for payments or other transfers of value made to physician speakers at certain accredited continuing education events.
The result of this change is that, starting in 2016, when an applicable manufacturer provides an “indirect payment” or other transfer of value to a continuing education organization for a continuing education event to physicians, and that manufacturer knows or finds out the identity of the physician attendees/speakers within the reporting year or by the end of the second quarter of the following reporting year, that payment must be reported to CMS in 2017. A payment is considered “indirect” when a manufacturer directs, instructs or otherwise causes a third party to provide payment to a covered recipient.
The attached Survey and Certification memo from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updates the infection control surveyor worksheet in the state operations manual for ambulatory surgery centers (ASC). Intended to help surveyors better understand infection prevention and control issues in the ASC setting, the worksheet changes align with current nationally recognized standards of practice and clarify some questions surveyors have had. In addition, CMS has added to the worksheet questions about the practice of immediate-use steam sterilization (IUSS) to help surveyors assess compliance with recently released IUSS guidance.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the attached survey and certification letter updating the interpretive guidance in Appendix A of the State Operating Manual for hospital conditions of participation for radiologic and nuclear medicine services. The updates reflect current standards of practice and provide more detailed instructions for compliance assessment. Included in the update is a description of the types of radiologic/nuclear medicine services provided and discussion of safety precautions hospitals are expected to take to decrease radiation exposure risks.