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What you should know about documenting medical maintenance

April 03, 2014
From the April 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

These regulations are left to the interpretation of the beholder, which is risky. For instance, recent changes with the CMS PM directive now make the interpretation of whether a device is considered life support, critical care or general based on where that device is located in the hospital and how it’s used. Consider AED defibrillators in a medsurg unit: some OEMs don’t have a designed PM or frequency, therefore some CEs don’t put it on schedule. However, it’s now considered life support, meaning twice a year PM, otherwise risk a citation. Best practices for PM frequencies include developing, documenting and working a plan, and updating it based on federal and state changes.

The responsibilities of documenting medical maintenance require more than asking a seasoned CE to “help out” when time permits. It requires a full-time risk manager that works in tandem with CE to develop an MEMP plan, document inventory and create a PM frequency plan for every device in the hospital. They should know when surveys will take place so you’re prepared. State surveys occur every year, the Joint Commission surveys occur every 18 months-three years, and CMS occurs every 15 months. Each state and regulatory body has their own requirements, so your risk manager must understand the process for each. If hiring a full-time professional isn’t in the budget, consider partnering with a service provider who can help prepare for the surveys and stay compliant year-round.

About the Author: Dale Hockel is the Senior Vice President of Operations at TriMedx, an Indianapolis-based health care equipment services provider. Dale is a senior executive with more than 20 years of strategic and operational leadership experience. Dale earned a BA in Management Science from Buena Vista University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University.

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