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SDS Accreditation Update
Joint Commission may draw line in the sand in Nevada
HCV outbreak might lead to requirements
In what might be a prelude to accreditation requirements in Nevada ambulatory care settings, officials from The Joint Commission (TJC) have been meeting with state legislators and working out an agreement to report infection control problems such as the improper needle practices that led to a hepatitis C outbreak last year in Las Vegas.
Indeed, the outbreak and a succession of other clusters that have followed nationwide might give TJC a foothold in voluntary accreditation for physician offices and freestanding clinics. TJC recently agreed to alert state public health officials when the accrediting body identifies patient safety breaches at a health care facility, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.1
Oversight sought for surgery centers
Meanwhile, some patient safety advocates are calling for state and federal legislation requiring oversight of ambulatory centers by infection preventionists (IPs) and/or accrediting organizations. The idea of enlisting IPs into oversight roles has been discussed by state lawmakers in Nevada, but there is one snag: A national shortage of IPs.
The issues are resources and work force, says Marion Kainer, MD, MPH, FRACP, medical epidemiologist and director of the hospital infections and antimicrobial resistance program at the Tennessee Department of Health in Nashville. "I think these areas would all benefit from having infection preventionists' [oversight]," she says. "I know that these are tough times and resources are limited, but this is basic patient safety. I am sure people would not mind spending an extra two dollars a visit if they could be assured that the most basic infection control measures are taken care of."
Martha Framsted, a spokeswoman for the Nevada's health division, said the state agency has reached out to 10 other accrediting organizations, according to the news article. Six are coordinating their work with the state's health department, and an agreement is being drafted by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), the Review-Journal reported. TJC officials have agreed to share with the health division any patient safety complaints, its survey schedule, and any follow-up information. Also, within two business days of a survey, TJC officials will notify Nevada officials of any immediate threat to patient safety, the newspaper noted.
In addition, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association's Ambulatory Surgery Foundation has joined with groups such as AAAHC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote a safe injection practices coalition. The groups have a web site at www.ONEandONLYcampaign.org.