Mac’s Safety Space: Don’t forget to check the gas!
One of the topics that doesn’t necessarily get a lot of coverage in this space relates to the management of medical gas systems and equipment. As we edge ever nearer to the New Year, I think sharing some learned resources in that regard would be worthwhile. Certainly, one of the lessons learned during the pandemic is that not everyone’s medical gas systems were designed for extreme demands. For those of you who might be in the process of updating/upgrading your systems, although I am by no means an expert on such things—as a going concern—I generally know how to track down resources to help folks manage the complexities of their critical utilities system infrastructure.
To that end, I’d ask you to check out the folks at CHT Healthcare. They specialize in all things medical gas systems: from installation and certification to all your inspection, testing, and maintenance needs. Plus (and this is what’s important to me), they are not afraid to share information. Here are a couple of recent blog posts that I think you will find illuminating in the best way:
By code and regulation, each organization is tasked with determining frequencies for inspection, testing, and maintenance activities, so it’s up to you to plot your compliance course. Don’t be afraid to look for tips on best practices, and don’t be afraid to be very specific about the contents of the deliverables from this process. In my experience, the situations that generally end up with survey findings are either:
- Not correcting deficiencies/discrepancies in a timely fashion (and not managing the corrective actions as a function of a risk assessment)
- Not correcting deficiencies/discrepancies because you had a condition that was no readily discernible from the medical gas system compliance documentation
You really need to work with your compliance vendors for both; they can help you determine the risks as you engage the corrective action process, and they can give you a report that includes a very clear list of the deficiencies/discrepancies. You really don’t want the surveyor to be the one to find that you missed a corrective action.
About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as The Greeley Company) in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at email@example.com.