APIC tries to clear way for hand hygiene dispensers

Feds fail to formalize approval

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has written a letter to federal officials trying to remove red tape and clear the way for installation of alcohol hand rubs in hospital corridors. The letter notes that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet officially amended federal policy to allow alcohol-based hand gels to be placed in egress corridors of health care facilities.

"We are extremely concerned that CMS intends to continue citing hallway-mounted dispensers as a deficiency until such time as the agency publishes a new ruling in the Federal Register," APIC states in the letter. "We cannot understand the continued delay in addressing this when the study has provided a scientific basis for permitting alcohol-based hand rubs in corridors and addresses fire safety concerns. Furthermore, fire safety professionals have voiced resounding support, in communications with CMS."

Installation of alcohol-based hand-rub dispensers in corridors was not permitted under the new 2000 edition of the Life Safety Code, due to provisions prohibiting the placement of flammable liquids in exit corridors. The prohibition was eliminated earlier this year by the National Fire Protection Association, following an engineering study using computer modeling which determined that alcohol-based hand-rub dispensers could safely be installed safely and managed in corridors, APIC reminded.