Fact Sheet: Who's Who Among Regulatory Authorities

Specific to Senior Living Communities
 

The healthcare industry’s influence spans our lifetime, from our first to our last breath. That’s why it’s a passionate topic for most consumers, and also why there’s no room for error. Systematic and professional failures can have profound and lasting impacts.

The organizations that regulate the delivery of healthcare in senior living communities (SLCs) have established standards to help ensure positive patient outcomes, as you’re well aware. Here’s a refresher of the regulatory authorities specific to SLCs, and what they do, so that when you next review your facility’s safety plan, you can ensure that it addresses and is compliant with regulations and recommended guidelines.

1. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA oversees the safety of work environments for workers and requires the following elements be addressed in a facility safety plan:

When evaluating an SLC, OSHA commonly looks at the following:

  • Ergonomic hazards associated with patient handling
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Workplace violence
  • Influenza
  • Tuberculosis
  • Emergency response hazard

 

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC is a federal agency responsible for implementing systems to keep everyone, including healthcare workers and patients, healthy. The main SLC-specific programs they oversee include:

  • Infection prevention (personal protective equipment [PPE] and respiratory protection)
  • Immunizations for healthcare workers
  • Sharps injury prevention
  • Bloodborne pathogen and infectious disease exposure control

The CDC is a federal agency responsible for implementing systems to keep everyone, including healthcare workers and patients, healthy. The main SLC-specific programs they oversee include:

  • Infection prevention (personal protective equipment [PPE] and respiratory protection)
  • Immunizations for healthcare workers
  • Sharps injury prevention
  • Bloodborne pathogen and infectious disease exposure control

3. State and Local Health Departments

State and local health departments implement guidelines published by the CDC:

  • Infection prevention (personal protective equipment [PPE] and respiratory protection)
  • Immunizations for healthcare workers
  • Sharps injury prevention
  • Bloodborne pathogen and infectious disease exposure control
  • Influenza vaccination program

State and local health departments may also publish state or local regulations if local circumstances warrant a modified approach. (For instance, if your state experiences a disease outbreak that other states are not seeing, that would warrant a state or local health advisory.)

Additionally, when violations in health practices occur, complaints are filed at the state and local levels where they can be properly investigated and resolved.

4. The Joint Commission

This independent accreditation and certification organization voluntarily evaluates U.S. healthcare organizations and programs with performance standards focused on patient safety and high-quality care. If your facility is accredited or seeking accreditation, The Joint Commission evaluates compliance with and effectiveness of your safety programs, as well as compliance with regulatory and internal policies.

5. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

CMS evaluates SLC’s compliance with Medicare and Medicaid programs, as well as regulatory and internal policies. CMS also monitors patient outcomes and satisfaction, and bases each facility’s reimbursement level for services on those scores. CMS has published recommended staffing guidelines for SLCs (use the search box to locate specific materials).

© 2018 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.