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CMS Comes Clean About Its Maintenance Rule

Right before the start of the year,  the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spoke out about an issue that had clinical engineers in health care facilities across the country worried for almost two years: Whether they were going to have to revise long-established protocols on how often they perform preventive maintenance for medical devices.

When CMS cleared up the equipment maintenance guidelines on Dec. 23, 2013, the clinical engineering community was mostly relieved. In the updated directive, CMS announced that it will allow health care facilities to follow an alternative equipment maintenance (AEM) program based on accepted standards of practice for maintenance. In other words, clinical engineers can continue doing what they have been doing to maintain medical equipment — a practice that has been endorsed and approved by the Joint Commission for over 10 years — except when it comes to imaging equipment, lasers, and new equipment without a long enough history to establish an adequate risk-based assessment for maintenance. In those cases, facilities will now have to follow what the OEMs recommend.

“If I’m the clinical engineering director, I’m very happy to receive this memo, I’ve gotten most of my flexibility back, not all of it,” says Jonathan Gaev, business line manager of BioMedicalBenchmark at ECRI Institute.

Overall, Gaev says the memo was wellreceived by the clinical engineering community — but with a little less cheer in those areas where the directive still holds.  Exceptions to the rule…

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From: DOTmed News May 29, 2014

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