The Joint Commission has updated its standards to align with new federal requirements that allow critical access hospitals to deviate from manufacturers’ maintenance recommendations in certain circumstances.
The move comes about two months after a memo from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in which the agency announced that critical access hospitals would have more latitude inmedical equipment maintenance programs. The August memo followed one from CMS in last December in which the agency unveiled a similar policy for hospitals in general.
Starting in 2015, critical access hospitals accredited by TJC will need to identify high-risk medical equipment in their inventories that can cause serious injury or death if failure were to occur. They also must identify in writing the activities and associated frequencies for maintaining, inspecting, and testing equipment, regardless of whether they adhere to manufacturers’ recommendations or an alternative equipment maintenance (AEM) program.
The TJC document points to ANSI/AAMI EQ 56:1999/(R) 2008, Recommended Practice for a Medical Equipment Management Program as having an example of standards for a medical equipment program.
While they may have AEM programs, critical access hospitals may not deviate from a manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations when:
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