Key compliance changes regarding power strips, PFIs

ISSUE BRIEF

June 4, 2014

ASHE members should be aware of several important compliance changes affecting hospitals and other health facilities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is significantly restricting the use of power strips in patient care areas effective immediately. Also, the Joint Commission is requiring hospitals to address overdue plans for improvement (PFIs) by July 1, 2014.

Joint Commission Department of Engineering Director George Mills states that CMS is not allowing relocatable power taps, referred to as RPTs or power strips, to be used with medical equipment in patient care areas—effective immediately. That includes operating rooms, patient rooms, and areas for recovery, exams, and diagnostic procedures. Mills reports that many facility professionals are frustrated by the change, arguing that restrictions on power strips would lead to tripping hazards from long extension cords stretching across rooms.

“This is not necessarily the best solution, but for now, the CMS guidance must be followed,” Mills said.

Mills also says that CMS will be treating all ultrasound devices as radiological equipment that cannot be included in alternative equipment management programs. An ASHE issue brief on alternative maintenance explains more about this topic.

The Joint Commission also recently announced a change intended to clear plans for improvement (PFIs) in a more timely manner. All overdue PFIs must be addressed by July 1, 2014. Facilities that do not address their PFIs by July 1 will get a follow-up call from the Joint Commission’s Department of Engineering, and further delay may result in an on-site survey. The Joint Commission states that the change is consistent with CMS expectations.

ASHE will continue to keep members updated about compliance issues.

Key Points

  • ASHE members need to be aware of several important changes regarding code compliance.
  • CMS is no longer allowing power strips for use with medical equipment in patient treatment areas. This change is taking effect immediately.
  • CMS has also said that all ultrasound devices are radiological equipment that cannot be included in alternative equipment maintenance programs.
  • The Joint Commission has announced that all outstanding plans for improvement (PFIs) need to be addressed by July 1, 2014.
  • ASHE will continue to keep members updated about these and other compliance issues.

     

ASHE staff contact: ASHE Deputy Executive Director of Advocacy Chad Beebe, AIA, SASHE, 312-422-3824 or cbeebe@aha.org.