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  • Keeping service animals out of healthcare settings is rarely legal

    When anyone brings an animal into a healthcare setting, it is reasonable to wonder whether the animal’s presence might pose a sanitation risk. Fleas, ticks, mites, and more could threaten to undermine the facility’s infection control efforts. Since some of these animals will be service animals, however, medical and support staffers should be cautious to avoid violating the rights of patients and visitors with disabilities.

  • Ransomware costs N.Y. hospital nearly $10M

    A hospital that lost control of its computers last spring when hackers unleashed ransomware on its systems has paid nearly $10 million recovering in the past few months.

  • Joint Commission issues clarifications on ED classifications, doors, and fire drills

    The Joint Commission has issued clarifications on some subjects that should help hospitals understand how to get into compliance with some of the requirements of the newly adopted Life Safety Code® (LSC). 

  • How to hire workers with arrest and criminal records safely, fairly, and legally

    Healthcare settings are often sensitive environments. Beyond keeping facilities safe and clean for medical care, workers must consistently protect patient information and handle controlled substances responsibly. So it should come as no surprise that hiring managers want to set a high bar for anyone seeking “employee” status in a clinic, doctor’s office, or any other medical facility. To operate safely and effectively, these healthcare organizations need to hire trustworthy staffers.

  • Proper device cleaning requires manufacturer guidance, internal process

    Press manufacturers and vendors for details on the proper cleaning products and solutions to use on their equipment. Then make sure that employees responsible for cleaning sensitive hospital equipment have access to the right cleaning products and clear instructions on how to use them. 

  • Chicago-area hospital reopens after flood-forced evacuation

    A hospital in the northern suburbs of Chicago reopened Tuesday, nearly a week after flooding forced the facility to evacuate 93 patients. The case serves as a reminder to hospitals, government officials, and accrediting organizations alike that evacuation preparedness is essential to emergency planning.

Safety Blogs

Mac's Safety Space - The one blog hospital safety professionals need to read
Hospital safety professionals need to check out the latest advice and musings from Steve MacArthur, safety consultant.

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All things OSHA for physician practices and ambulatory healthcare settings, including regulatory news, advice and tools for compliance.
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  • Ransomware costs N.Y. hospital nearly $10M

    A hospital that lost control of its computers last spring when hackers unleashed ransomware on its systems has paid nearly $10 million recovering in the past few months.

    The hackers had demanded nearly $30,000 worth of bitcoin as ransom, but officials with Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, New York, declined, knowing there would be no guarantee that the attackers would fully remove their malicious software once paid off, The Buffalo News reported Wednesday.

    Instead, the hospital invested in new hardware and software, and it paid for expert advice. Those categories accounted for about half of what has been spent thus far. The other half accounts for overtime pay, lost revenue, and other expenses. Moving forward, officials expect to spend at least $250,000 more per month to continue upgrading technology and educating employees to ward off future attackers.

    In the wake of this incident, healthcare workers had to resort to old-school pen-and-paper recordkeeping techniques. But this sort of situation could also threaten patient care more directly.

    “Cybersecurity can have a major impact on patient safety,” Mitch Work, MPA, FHIMSS, president and CEO of The Work Group, Inc., told the Patient Safety Monitor Journal. “If hackers are able to access patient records and information, they will conceivably have the capability to change and manipulate patient data, which could have disastrous consequences. Think of [someone] changing medications, patient vital signs, or even diagnoses.”