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The CDC issued a Health Alert Network Update on Oct. 2 regarding the requirement that hospitals must verify that any vendors who maintain, clean, disinfect or sterilize reusable medical devices are certified or approved.
Recent infection-control lapses due to noncompliance with recommended processing indicated a critical gap that put patients at risk. The affected patients were notified that they may be at risk for infection because equipment was not disinfected or sterilized properly.
The CDC issued the alert after being contacted by multiple healthcare facilities to determine who is available to certify or approve vendors. Currently, there are no formal or standardized programs through which a facility can verify that a vendor or contractor has the appropriate training. However, the CDC clarified that hospitals and other healthcare facilities who hire contractors to perform device processing confirm that those contractors have appropriate training programs. It is imperative that the program include device specific training.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities should also train any of their own staff who will be processing medical devices. This would include semi-critical items such as endoscope processing and laryngoscope blades and could include reprocessing critical items such as surgical instruments. Staff should be trained in orientation and thereafter at least once a year.
Manufacturer’s instructions should be available on how to clean, operate and process the equipment and training updates should be done, for both staff and vendors, when changes are made. To ensure proper cleaning, disinfection, sterilization, and storage, regular audits should be conducted.
Related Webinar: Infection Prevention & Control Standards from CMS: the Latest