Q: In regards to your answer last week requiring plastic coffee pots to be inspected, is this a code requirement or just a "best practice?" I’m not talking about equipment patients touch or are treated with … would computers be a part of electrical safety test?
A: This is not a standard. This is an interpretation by CMS. According to the CoP for acute-care hospitals, §482.41(c)(2) says:
“Facilities, supplies, and equipment must be maintained to ensure an acceptable level of safety and quality.”
The Interpretive Guidelines for this section says:
“The hospital must ensure that the condition of the physical plant and overall hospital environment is developed and maintained in a manner that provides an acceptable level of safety and well-being of patients, staff and visitors.”
The way CMS has interpreted this in the field in the past, is they expect all electrical devices, including computers, to be electrically checked first before placed into service. CMS does not expect all consumer items to be placed in the plant inventory, but they do expect the facility to be maintained to ensure an acceptable level of safety. While some accreditation organizations do not enforce this level of scrutiny, I have observed many state agencies who survey on behalf of CMS do enforce this level.
It’s up to you…. If you choose not to do this, you probably will not be cited for a finding under an accreditation survey. But you would take your chances with a CMS validation survey.
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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