Several types of medical equipment use gas systems for operation. The maintenance of pipelines and source equipment is critical to prevent shutdowns, avoid ceiling fires, and keep patients and employees safe. It is also essential to remain in compliance with oversight associations.
Setting Up a Proper maintenance Program
Maintenance is easy to overlook and forget to schedule in a timely manner. There are so many other tasks and duties that require daily attention that calling to arrange for services can get pushed into the background. This is likely to increase liability, result in gaps in compliance, and compromise safety.
One way to eliminate that possibility is to work with an experienced company that offers customized services for maintenance and repairs. A single source provider, such as MTA, will make maintenance automatic and cost-effective.
Code NFPA 99
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is a federal program that is administered by each state. During the 2018 annual conference, the CMS decided to enforce Code NFPA 99 as a regulation for medical gas systems. The frequency of inspections is based on the risk assessment of each medical facility but cannot be less than every eighteen months.
Compliance for this code is determined by safety process documentation and records of routine maintenance. Utilizing an outside company for maintenance ensures records are up to date and in the proper format preferred by CMS inspectors.
Use Preventative Maintenance to Save Time
Preventative maintenance measures will save time and money while keeping equipment in a smooth operating order. Equipment shutdowns cause delays in services that cost hospitals a significant amount of money. Time is also expended to reschedule tests and procedures for multiple patients.
Hoses as an Example
Taking care of minor issues quickly eliminates major issues from developing. One example is flexible hoses that are connected to the piping that carries the gas. Those hoses can become brittle and crack or leak. Inspecting these hoses regularly allows maintenance professionals to replace them before any damage is done.
Leaks of certain gases like oxygen can result in ceiling fires. The expense of repairing extensive damage will be far more than the expense of preventative maintenance. Insurance rates will go up and liability issues will result in at least a few lawsuits.
Establishing a maintenance schedule is important to the running of a medical facility. Maintenance of the equipment and gas system in the emergency room is best scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon as opposed to a Friday afternoon. Review the times of heavy use for each department and avoid scheduling at those times.
Consulting with each department head is wise because that input will be invaluable. The practice will also boost employee buy-in to the importance of maintenance. Their cooperation is paramount to reducing business interruption during maintenance and repairs.
Constantly Review the Risk Assessment
The uses, demands, and equipment of facilities change often. New technology and equipment are purchased, the demographics of the people served changes as the population ages, and regulations are updated. Be sure the risk assessment does not become outdated because it dictates the frequency of inspections and maintenance.
Observing five simple tips can make the operation and compliance of medical gas systems easy and hassle-free. Compare current maintenance protocols with best practices recommended by oversight agencies to ensure the safety and proper use of equipment.