Focus: Fire-Life Safety / Column

Life Safety Q&A: Medical equipment contractor

By Brad Keyes / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
August 9, 2017

Q: When I came into this new position the medical equipment program was run by a third party managing our own Bio-med technicians. We changed the 3rd party contractor and we still have a huge problem as far as the PM’s not being done by the new contractor (huge back log). We think with good reason that the hospital is at risk.  

We put pressure on the contractor by mentioning our concerns regarding an upcoming accreditation survey, or the state public health department survey, and CMS (which could happen at any time), not to mention the safety of our patients. The contractor’s answer is we should not be concerned since the accreditation organization and CMS will accept the fact that we are “in transition” and that it is commonly accepted to experience a backlog in this type of situation. We asked them to provide documentation to support their position, but we have not heard anything yet. What are your thoughts?

A: I think that is faulty logic. There is nothing in the accreditation standards or the CMS CoPs that allows non-compliance based on a change in contractors. Either you are or you are not compliant. Most surveyors will not care why you’re not compliant.

It is likely that the contractor who told you this was provided misleading information. Perhaps they were part of a survey where the surveyor was benevolent and said something like that. If so, then that is an individual surveyor’s preference and is not the policy of the accreditor or the CMS. The chances are you will have a surveyor in your upcoming survey who may be sympathetic, but still cite you if you’re not compliant.

Get cracking on that contractor. You’re the boss, not them. If they fail to perform, withhold payment and find a new contractor, or better yet, use this situation as a validation to your leadership that you need to manage this important process in-house, and no longer have outside contractors manage your Bio-med services.

Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs.

 

 

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