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Do anesthesia carts need to be locked when an anesthesiologist is taking the patient to the recovery area?

Accreditation Survey Connection Q&A, January 17, 2008

The following was answered by Jodi Eisenberg, MHA, CPMSM, CPHQ, in recent issue of the HCPro newsletter Briefings on The Joint Commission (BOJ). Eisenberg serves as program manager of accreditation and clinical compliance at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and is also an advisory board member for BOJ.

Under Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' rules, as long as your organization has limited access to authorized personnel areas, it is not necessary to lock the anesthesia cart. However, I would caution organizations to do a thorough risk analysis to ensure appropriate security. The medication policy should fit the organization's needs. The Joint Commission states that medications must be stored in a secure area, whether locked or unlocked, which prevents either access or tampering. An example of this is a separate locked room or unit that is accessible only to authorized personnel.

To read more advice from Eisenberg on medication storage and security, click here.