Infection Control FAQ’s

Information topics and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are selected from the regulations, the latest Infection Control Compliance Resources are published by regulatory and advisory agencies and from FAQs received in the TMC Client Services Center.

The employee training information and OSHA compliance programs are designed for medical and dental practices that want to reduce their risk for patient and employee infection. Preventing infections is an important Risk Management step for the practice, reducing the potential for civil action and reputational damage.

Dental Infection Control Guidelines

The CDC, working with other authorities on infection control,  developed guidelines for Infection Control in Dental settings. This report consolidates recommendations for preventing and controlling infectious diseases and managing personnel health and safety concerns related to infection control in dental settings. This 2003 report 1) updates and revises previous CDC recommendations regarding infection control in dental settings; 2) incorporates relevant infection-control measures from other CDC guidelines; and 3) discusses concerns not addressed in previous recommendations for dentistry.

You can refer to the recommendations from the report to assist you with any aspect of infection control. The full report provides the background and evidence as to why this recommendation was made. Of course, there have been updates since 2003 and you can attend one of the TMC Infection Control seminars or webinars for training to obtain the latest information.

Getting Back to Infection Control Basics – 5 Basic Principles

I was recently very excited to learn of the CDC release entitled Guide to Infection Prevention in Outpatient Settings. Since a large portion of my time is spent in infection prevention I am always looking for new and updated information to share in order to help practices provide a safer patient encounter. Just to clarify, the out-patient setting in this document refers to all delivery systems in the medical community in which the patients do not remain overnight with the exception of dialysis centers. While this document’s focus is on the medical environment, it certainly can apply to the dental environment as well.

Hepatitis B Outbreak in NC Linked to Infection Control Issues

Infection control breaches have been identified as the source of a hepatitis B outbreak in a North Carolina assisted living facility. This outbreak impacted eight patients, five of which lost their lives to the illness. In the final report published by the NC Division of Public Health the following conclusion was listed:

Our investigation suggests that person-to-person transmission of hepatitis B occurred in the assisted living facility, most likely as a result of unsafe blood glucose monitoring practices.

You may ask why this information is applicable to the out-patient environment. Many practices perform blood glucose testing on site and with this tragic scenario, the time is now to review your OSHA standards process to ensure you are providing safe care for patients. The CDC has issued warnings and guidelines on safe practices due to other Hep B outbreaks associated with the use of blood glucose monitoring. Read more

Ambulatory Surgery Centers Have Increased Inspections? Are You Ready?

In an effort to support the Health and Human Services 2009 action plan to prevent healthcare acquired infections, $9 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was made available to state survey agencies in 43 states for inspections of surgery centers.  The CDC also provided an additional $40 million to state public health departments to create or expand state-based health care associated infection (HAI) prevention and surveillance efforts and strengthen the public health workforce trained to prevent HAIs.

Investigations revealed two-thirds (68%) of the pilot ASCs had at least one lapse in infection control noted by surveyors; 18% had lapses identified in three or more of the five categories evaluated by surveyors. Sites were surveyed in North Carolina, Maryland and Oklahoma utilizing the CMS tool for Infection Control Inspections of Ambulatory Surgical Centers. The tool utilized by the site surveyors can be viewed by clicking here.
All ASCs that accept Medicare must meet the Medicare standards for infection control to remain eligible to accept Medicare reimbursements. Are you ready for an inspection? Read more

Proper Decontamination of Instruments – Are You Following the Correct Steps?

Recently there has been a flurry of media focus on the lack of basic infection control practices in ambulatory care. When the situations have been further investigated, one of the items associated with possible transmission of hep B, hep C, and HIV was the lack of adequate disinfection or sterilization of equipment used to provide patient care. Be sure your practice is following the appropriate OSHA compliance guidelines for the proper disinfection or sterilization of instruments. The last thing that you want is to be on the evening news!