CMS posts changes to medication administration timing requirements

Accreditation Connection, December 2, 2011

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced that the organization is removing language establishing a uniform, 30-minute window before or after the scheduled time for all scheduled medication administration. According to the official CMS statement, the regulatory body has recognized that it is no longer the standard of practice in the current hospital environment to follow a “30-minute rule” for this.

CMS has changed its language clarifying that hospitals must adopt medication administration policies and procedures that are based on accepted standards of practice, as required by the regulation at 42 CFR 482.23(c).

The intent of this change is to provide “hospitals flexibility to establish policies and procedures for the timing of medication administration that take into account the nature of the prescribed medication, specific clinical applications, and patient needs,” according to the CMS official statement.

CMS has now established an expectation that hospitals identify medications which require exact or precise timing of administration. These medications are not eligible for scheduled dosing times. Hospitals must also determine which medications, among those eligible for dosing times, are time-critical and which are not time-critical and adjust or establish their policies to address this.

The California Society for Health-System Pharmacists have linked the CMS letter here.

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