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Michael M. Hash, acting chief of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), was forced to resign in December for violating the Hatch Act by hosting a fundraiser for a congressional candidate. The federal law prohibits political fundraising by federal employees.
Hash voluntarily reported the violation to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), which didn’t seek to prosecute. Hash said he did not know he was violating the act by throwing the fundraiser for his former neighbor. He resigned as part of a settlement with the OSC. Michael McMullan will serve as acting administrator of the agency until the Bush administration confirms a new administrator. According to an AHA (American Hospital Association) News report, Tom Scully, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, is expected to be installed as HCFA chief.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has warned hospitals and other facilities that some infusion pumps can deliver lethal bursts of medicine — called free-flow — and that the facilities could lose Medicaid accreditation if they can’t document the safe use of the pumps.
More than 30 models without free-flow protection are still marketed by dozens of medical device companies. Most new pumps have the protection, but facilities may continue to use older models because staff are familiar with them and because intravenous tubing is less expensive. JCAHO plans to require facilities to eliminate pumps that don’t have free-flow protection. Facilities will also have to document the training health personnel receive on using the pumps.