There’s a lot of confusion among hospital administrators and security officers about how to abide by the numerous healthcare security guidelines issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Joint Commission, the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
And while well-intended, much of the information relayed by security experts or industry colleagues is hearsay. Following someone else’s interpretation of agency regulations can be risky, because your exact scenario needs to be taken into account. Word-of-mouth advice is especially risky in situations when two or more agencies’ guidelines compete with one another. You may even find that strict interpretation of one agency’s guidelines can entangle your hospital in compliance issues with others.
Understanding CMS regulations in particular has been challenging. It’s one of the top five concerns raised by hospital administrators and CSOs in a soon-to-be-released Guardian 8 survey, and for good reason. CMS guidelines on Patient Restraint or Seclusion, as one example, are more than 40 pages long. A thorough understanding of CMS regulations and how it applies to your situation is crucial, since violating CMS rules can result in the loss of Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Get informed! Speak to the agencies yourself. To help you navigate the process we created this infographic as a quick and easy guide for understanding each regulatory agency’s focus.
We are also moderating a series of conference calls with the four regulatory agencies. A transcript of my recent call with CMS Survey Branch Manager Victoria Vachon is now available. Victoria addresses the use of weapons by hospital staff and when actions may be deemed a law enforcement action by security personnel, among other questions.