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5 Healthcare Compliance Areas You Need to Watch

Grace Flack
  • Jan 01, 2018
  • 4 minute read

Do you feel like you can't get ahead with compliance or have trouble making sense of your ever-growing list of compliance concerns? 

In the healthcare industry, compliance is no longer just a concern for one month of the year, or that week your inspector chooses to stop by. Being compliance-ready and checking all of the boxes is more of a lifestyle, and your daily work often reflects whether you have your compliance ducks in a row or not.  

So, how do you stay ready for that inspector while still getting your day-to-day tasks done (without more budget dollars or time in the day)? 

There are a few compliance areas you can start focusing on today to increase your efficiency while staying compliant and streamlining your operations.

1. Infection control 

Everyone on your maintenance and operations team plays a critical role in protecting infection control and preventing disease, so it's important to make sure they have the tools and training they need to track and manage compliance work, while minimizing risks. 

What to keep an eye on: 

  • Housekeeping- How do you train your housekeeping staff around infection control? 
  • Legionnaire's- What is your water management plan and what processes are in place to protect it? 
  • Hand hygiene- How do you promote good hand hygiene in your team and throughout your organization? 

Infection control starts with being vigilant in the small daily tasks, while ensuring you have the right protocols documented and a way to show that you are putting them into action.  

2. Fire & life safety 

We all know that change is the only constant (as the saying goes) with compliance, and fire and life safety is one of those areas that always seems to be in flux. With new standards from The Joint Commission, CMS and OSHA, it can be too much to juggle.  

But, this area is a top priority with the weight it carries for protecting both patients and staff.  

What to keep an eye on:  

  • CMS K-Tag violations- Are you familiar with the most common life safety citations, so you know what K-Tags to look out for in your healthcare organization? 
  • Interim Life Safety Measures (ILSM)- What ILSMs do you have in place and how could you improve? 
  • NFPA codes and standards- Are you up to date on changes in NFPA codes

Following these compliance codes and integrating them into your daily work orders and preventive maintenance plan can mean an easier inspection and being prepared for whatever comes your facility's way. 

3. Medical gas & vacuum systems

Although you might just expect your medical gas and vacuum systems to continue running as expected, they need supervision to ensure they're working properly and not putting anyone in danger. 

What to keep an eye on:  

  • CMS standards in the 2012 edition of NFPA 99- Are you familiar with the new information on the storage, temperature, disposal and management of medical gas? 
  • Training for staff- How are you keeping your staff trained and up to date on new compliance codes around medical gas and vacuum systems? 

Awareness and training go hand in hand to make sure each member of your staff understands how they can help keep compliance with these volatile systems. This will result in improved compliance, as well as better care and safety for patients. 

4. HVAC maintenance 

Since hot and cold calls are some of the biggest complaints for maintenance teams, it's no surprise that the management of your HVAC system(s) is critical to your operations... and compliance. When you can better manage the condition of your heating and cooling systems and make data-driven decisions about how to maximize their performance, you'll be better prepared for compliance inspections. 

What to keep an eye on: 

  • HVAC maintenance- How do you track the maintenance of your HVAC system(s), manage air handling and make decisions around repairing vs. replacing? 
  • Codes around utility systems- Are you considering codes like EC.02.05.01 and ASHRAE's air quality standards and integrating them into your maintenance processes? 

Helping your HVAC system(s) be more compliant and efficient can cut down on costs, calls and complaints. 

5. Emergency preparedness 

With recent events around natural disasters, emergency preparedness procedures have had much more scrutiny as a compliance concern. After all, it's not worth waiting until something happens to have your ducks in a row.  

What to keep an eye on: 

Being prepared for any emergency is the key to equipping your staff to act quickly and efficiently when needed. 

Answering these questions about your compliance procedures can open your eyes to areas to be more efficient, which can equate to improved compliance and saved time. 

Read our new e-book, Compliance Efficiency Through the Power of Technology to see how you can improve. 

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