PCAB/USP Workshop featured on Pharmacy Podcast ™

June 16, 2017.  The Pharmacy Podcast (www.pharmacypodcast.com), the nation’s most popular and downloaded podcast on the pharmacy industry, today featured an informational segment about the upcoming PCAB Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding / USP Compliance workshop to be held July 25-26, 2017 at Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Pharmacy in Florham Park, New Jersey.

This podcast, featuring Pharmacy Podcast founder, Todd Eury, and FDU School of Pharmacy Dean, Michael Avaltroni, can be heard here: //html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5454258/height/360/width/640/theme/standard/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/

The PCAB Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding Pharmacy workshop provides pharmacy personnel with a comprehensive overview of the accreditation process and a standard-by-standard review of the requirements for sterile and non-sterile compounding. The two-day course is conducted with a personalized approach that delivers valuable insight into the accreditation process.

Since the highly-anticipated release of USP there has been much discussion among pharmacies about the interpretation of these new guidelines—and what that will mean for their operations once implementation takes full effect in 2018. During this workshop participants will examine the new standards and discover practical applications.

This workshop event, priced at $599 for the two-day session–or $499 for the USP segment only–will offer 8.75 ACPE-certified CEs (6.5 CEs for the USP segment only).

To register for the workshops:

PCAB Sterile and Non-Sterile/USP Compliance (2 day, Combined) http://www.accreditationuniversity.com/compounding-pharmacy-workshop.html

USP Compliance (1 day) http://www.accreditationuniversity.com/usp-800-compliance.html

 

An Interview with the 1st Provider to Achieve ACHC Distinction in Palliative Care

ACHC Distinction in Palliative Care

This spring, Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care became the first provider to achieve Accreditation Commission for Health Care’s newly launched Distinction in Palliative Care. For Denise Watson, MVHPC executive director, distinction has made a world of difference.

MVHPC, which has been ACHC-accredited for hospice since 2007, began providing palliative care services about five years ago. In late 2015, ACHC invited MVHPC to join a team – facilitated by Judi Lund Person of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization – that helped to develop ACHC’s Palliative Care Standards based on the National Consensus Project’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care. In early 2017, MVHPC served as ACHC’s beta test site for those standards, undergoing a survey and ultimately earning the distinction. It was an experience that Watson says helped to make MVHPC’s palliative care program stronger and more structured, and that put the organization “a step above.”

ACHC followed up with Watson to learn more about MVHPC’s experience.

ACHC: Talk about your experience incorporating the ACHC standards into your practice.

DENISE WATSON: I put a team together with some of our top leadership and our medical director and our practitioners, and we started reviewing our (palliative care) policies and comparing what was lacking and where we did not meet the standards. We found we had a lot of work to do. So we went standard by standard to make sure that we had a policy. And we of course had to educate the practitioners and everybody that was a part of the program on what they had to do, because it was additional work, additional assessments. So it was a transition of changing a lot of the way we were doing things.

ACHC: What was an area in which you found your agency needed work?

DW: We didn’t really have any formal policies related to the interdisciplinary team. We were meeting once a month, roughly. We had to change the time and make it regular and really focus on that team care as opposed to just “here’s a referral; the nurse practitioner needs to see them.” So there was more structure and they had to follow certain policies and standards and processes that we were really very vague before.

ACHC: How did ACHC work with you to amend the standards based on your feedback?

DW: I really appreciate the fact that ACHC was open to listening to how the standards worked for us, per se, by changing policies and our processes. It was nice to know that we were part of making sure that we didn’t have overkill on the standards or maybe we didn’t have them strong enough. There was some movement there and flexibility that we could all come to an agreement, especially around the comprehensive assessment. Sometimes there’s a “one and done visit” and you never see (the patient) again, so we had to take that into account. Palliative Care, it’s different from hospice.

For example, with hospice there’s a comprehensive assessment for the nurse, chaplain, social worker. The issue is when our practitioners go out there to do the (palliative care) assessment, they have to ask questions about psychosocial; it’s all embedded in all these comprehensive assessments. What we elected to do is to have them ask a couple of simple questions. If they identify from those questions a need for spiritual or psychosocial assistance, then they make the referral to that discipline to do all those questions. What we were trying to do was limit the amount of detailed information a nurse practitioner or a physician had to get.

ACHC: Can you comment further on how does palliative differs from hospice?

DW: In Palliative Care, you’re focusing on a symptom, e.g. pain management. In hospice you’re focusing on all kinds of symptoms.

Hospice is much more intensive. You’re really supporting the entire family. We’ve tried to bring that into palliative care, but these patients are mobile. You may not have the family at the bedside. 60-70 percent of our patients in palliative care end up coming to hospice. You bring that interdisciplinary piece to it, but it’s not as involved. You’re focusing on that symptom, and you may find other stuff when you get in there, e.g. they need emotional support.

ACHC: How has MVHPC most benefitted from having achieved the Distinction in Palliative Care?

DW: We had tried, the entire time we were doing palliative care, to make our program structured. But we were lacking in structure and lacking in everybody knowing what they really should capture in a visit and then how they bring this back and share what they’re doing as a team, and then really talk as a team about goals of care.

It was fragmented, in my opinion, and this really brought structure to our program. And it made us do stuff that we had wanted to do, or had intended to do, forever. Our policies were very vague. It forced us to really put structure and meat to the program.

“I feel like our program is just much more structured. Everybody’s on the same page. It has been beneficial for us, for sure.”

ACHC: What does acheiving the ACHC Distinction in Palliative Care mean to you?

DW: It means we have taken the extra step to ensure our program provides quality service. We are taking steps that we didn’t have to do to improve our program. I think it says that we are doing this for the right reasons. The ultimate goal is to provide the best care to these patients. It’s a sense that somebody’s looking over our shoulder. Somebody’s looked at our program. Somebody has said, “You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.” It sets us a step above.

Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care provides hospice services to terminally ill patients and their families in 17 counties from eight locations in North Carolina and Southern Virginia. Denise Watson has served as executive director since 1999, and has worked for MVHPC since 1994.

For more information or to download ACHC Distinction in Palliative Care Standards, visit cc.achc.org, email customerservice@achc.org or call 855-937-2242.

CMS Proposed Rule Could Impede Transparency

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule on April 28, 2017, CMS-1677-P, which aims to provide consumers with more information to help them choose a healthcare provider. This proposed rule would require all Accrediting Organizations (AOs) with CMS deeming authority to post survey reports and acceptable plans of correction (POCs) on their websites. For more information on the proposed rule view the CMS fact sheet.

Although ACHC encourages transparency and supports efforts to empower consumers to make the best possible healthcare decisions, we do not believe that this proposed rule will achieve the desired outcome. Instead this proposal may provide more confusing and inconsistent data, impeding healthcare consumers’ ability to make informed decisions. ACHC stands firm with our providers in rejecting this proposal by submitting the following comments to CMS:

  • Healthcare consumers should evaluate patient outcomes, not organizational deficiencies. Consumers should be educated on the value of Medicare Compare, an existing platform that allows them to look at outcomes of healthcare agencies. Transparency about an organization’s performance is best measured through the collection of data using a consistent methodology that incorporates risk adjustment and validation testing as accomplished through Medicare Compare.
  • There is no requirement to standardize requirements between Accrediting Organizations. The publishing of Summary Reports does not provide an accurate comparison of requirements because non-CoP-based standards created by Accrediting Organizations are not equivalent. Healthcare consumers are left to draw improper conclusions caused by misinterpreting data and an inability to properly comprehend the implications of the findings.
  • Focuses on deficiencies found at a fixed point during a three-year period versus Medicare Compare outcomes, which are designed to continuously display organizational outcomes. Survey results reflect deficiencies cited during a finite moment in a three-year accreditation period. This provides a snapshot in time. Conversely, outcomes such as those displayed on Medicare Compare reflect a continuous measurement of the healthcare providers’ quality of care and their commitment to maintaining compliance with the findings identified during the accreditation survey process.
  • Works against concepts of continuous quality improvement. Organizations frequently maintain accreditation because they are committed to continuous improvement. Accreditation fosters the process of identifying gaps in compliance, creating an effective plan of correction, implementing the plan, and monitoring for ongoing compliance.  If the proposed regulation is passed, agencies will not view identification of nonconformances as a means of improving performance.
  • Is in opposition with regulatory requirements as stated in section 1865(b) of the Act and §488.4(b). CFR §488.4(b) prohibits the disclosure described in the proposal for all but one provider: “With the exception of home health agency surveys, general disclosure of an accrediting organization’s survey information is prohibited under section 1865(b) of the Act…” 

 

CALL TO ACTION

Based on facts provided above or your personal insights, we encourage all providers to please submit comments by June 13th electronically via the Federal Register Website.

*Please note – although this regulation affects Home Health agencies and Hospices, the name of the regulation refers to Medicare Hospital IPPS

ACHC Offers Accelerated Sleep Lab Accreditation

Big news in the sleep world has many providers wide awake. Recent changes to Medicare coverage policies for sleep studies will require sleep-specific accreditation for providers in 13 states. And it’s happening soon.

Effective June 5, 2017, sleep lab facilities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and certain U.S. territories will have to have sleep-specific accreditation to be eligible for coverage.

To assist facilities in meeting this deadline, ACHC is offering accelerated sleep lab accreditation.

To start the process, you will need to submit an application (available in your Customer Central account) and a $1,500 nonrefundable deposit. Your contract will then be emailed to you by your Account Advisor. Next, you will need to complete an Accelerated Sleep Accreditation Preliminary Evidence Report (PER) Checklist in which you acknowledge that the requirements of the PER Checklist have been met and the required items have been submitted for clinical review.

In order for ACHC to issue a subsequent approval letter and certificate, all submitted PER items must go through a successful clinical desk review and we must have the following items:

  • Signed contract
  • Payment in full

The approval letter will grant you accreditation for one year. ACHC will then work with you to schedule an on-site survey as quickly as possible. Once ACHC has completed the site visit, you will receive an updated accreditation certificate that will expire three years from the original accreditation date.
Please call us at (855) 937-2242 or email customerservice@achc.org to learn more.

 

HHS Cybersecurity Update

News of the recent worldwide cyberattack on the health sector in the UK has generated interest and inquiry in the US. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken the lead on collecting and disseminating useful information to healthcare constituencies since the discovery of this malicious attack on Friday. Although this iteration of the threat appears to be contained, ACHC encourages all healthcare providers to be vigilant in protecting against and reporting any cyber threats. Below is the update released by HHS.

 

We would like to flag for the community that a partner noted an exploitative social engineering activity whereby an individual called a hospital claiming to be from Microsoft and offering support if given access to their servers. It is likely that malicious actors will try and take advantage of the current situation in similar ways. Additionally, we received anecdotal notices of medical device ransomware infection.

How to request an unauthenticated scan of your public IP addresses from DHS

The US-CERT’s National Cybersecurity Assessment & Technical Services (NCATS) provides integrated threat intelligence and an objective third-party perspective on the current cybersecurity posture of the stakeholder’s unclassified operational/business networks. NCATS security services are available at no cost to stakeholders. For more information, please contact NCATS_INFO@hq.dhs.gov.

If you are the victim of ransomware or have cyber threat indicators to share, please contact law enforcement immediately.

  1. Contact your FBI Field Office Cyber Task Force immediately to report a ransomware event and request assistance. These professionals work with state and local law enforcement and other federal and international partners to pursue cybercriminals globally and to assist victims of cybercrime.
  2. Report cyber incidents to the US-CERT and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
  3. For further analysis please also share these indicators with HHS’ Healthcare Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (HCCIC) at HCCIC_RM@hhs.gov.

For the most up-to-date information from the U.S government on cybersecurity issues, visit:

Other Resources:

ALERT: HHS advises providers take note of cyber security risks

May 12, 2017. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is monitoring a significant cyber attack that has focused primarily on health systems in Europe. At this point the agency is assessing impact to US health systems and providers as some information suggests this attack may have spread to other industries and regions. Until more is known ACHC advises all to remind their associates and staff of safe and robust cyber security practices. The agency has provided some resources to assist in recognizing threats as well as how to handle suspicious activity. Monitor ACHC’s Twitter page (https://twitter.com/achc) for current information affecting health care providers. Below is the advisory sent by HHS.

Dear HPH Sector Colleagues,
HHS is aware of a significant cyber security issue in the UK and other international locations affecting hospitals and healthcare information systems. We are also aware that there is evidence of this attack occurring inside the United States. We are working with our partners across government and in the private sector to develop a better understanding of the threat and to provide additional information on measures to protect your systems. We advise that you continue to exercise cyber security best practices – particularly with respect to email.
Laura Wolf,
Critical Infrastructure Protection Lead
HHS-ASPR-OEM
 
Additional information on ransomware provided by HHS Office for Civil Rights can be found at:
Cyber Newsletters: 
https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/hippa-cyber-awareness-monthly-issue1.pdf
https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/hipaa-cyber-awareness-monthly-issue3.pdf
https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/february-2017-ocr-cyber-awareness-newsletter.pdf
 
Ransomware Guidance:
https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/RansomwareFactSheet.pdf

A Conversation with Bryan Prince about USP 800

Bryan Prince knows that USP can be a bitter pill for the independent pharmacist to swallow. The owner of Lab·Red Pharmacy Consultants who is an expert in cleanroom design, chemical handling and workflow understands the challenges pharmacy owners face as they try to balance a commitment to worker safety with the realities of running a business.

Prince also lent his expertise to the recently released Hazardous Drug Consensus Statement, a joint effort of the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) and industry leaders on the handling of hazardous drugs per USP guidelines.

Set to become official – i.e., enforceable by a regulatory entity such as a state board of pharmacy – on July 1, 2018, USP describes practice and quality standards for handling hazardous drugs (as identified by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH) in healthcare settings.

“The reality is it’s a huge financial investment,” Prince said about USP , noting that many pharmacists are wondering where they will find the space and/or the money to redesign or expand their cleanrooms/storage areas to meet requirements.

“We’ve got four different aspects of compounding,” Prince explained, “which equals four different rooms: USP , non-sterile, nonhazardous; USP sterile nonhazardous. Now we’re going to add on USP , non-sterile hazardous, and USP , sterile hazardous.

Think of it from the independent pharmacy owner’s perspective, he said: “You’re telling me I’ve got to have four separate rooms? Where am I going to find that space?”

From a broader perspective, though, can’t one assume that pharmacists already understand the risks and thus are doing the right things when it comes to HD handling?

“I’ve heard this: ‘Bryan, I’ve been doing this (HD compounding) for 20 years, and I’m OK.’ Then I’ve heard the flip side: The gentleman who said ‘After 20 years of doing this, I had some tumors removed.’ He couldn’t pinpoint it, but he felt like it was exposure to chemicals.

“At a conference, I met a young woman who said, ‘I’ve had three miscarriages. Do you think that’s because I work in a compounding pharmacy and I handle chemicals?’ And I told her ‘I can’t make that determination for you.’

“But the reality is, I think this is the next ‘mesothelioma’ waiting to happen,” Prince said, adding that he wonders why there aren’t yet legal ads on TV to the tune of: ‘If you’ve been working in a compounding pharmacy for X number of years and suffer from Y or Z …”

While Prince believes that USP is long overdue, he believes the need for it is stronger than ever. “Where we are today is different from where we were five years ago. There are more and more stories of exposure. The whole meningitis outbreak (scores of deaths traced to contaminated steroid injections from New England Compounding Center) kicked this thing off full throttle. The government took it and went to the next level with it.

“Did the independent pharmacy industry need some sort of regulatory change as it relates to chemical handling? Absolutely. I’m always going to be on the side of the fence that says this has been a long time coming,” which may be in opposition to the pharmacy owner, he acknowledged.

“But we have to get to a place where we understand that chemicals are dangerous.”

Bryan Prince will be presenting during a workshop sponsored by ACHC’s Accreditation University on July 25-26 at Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Teaneck, NJ. This PCAB Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding and USP Compliance Workshop will provide pharmacy personnel with a comprehensive overview of the accreditation process and a standard-by-standard review of the requirements for each, along with a detailed examination of USP and guidelines. For more information and to register, visit accreditationuniversity.com or contact Chelsie Rigsbee at 919-785-1214 or crigsbee@achc.org.

Need to Make Updates to Your Accreditation?

At ACHC it’s our goal to be a partner throughout the entire process – before, during, and after accreditation. ACHC knows that once in your 3-year accreditation cycle, business operations adjust for market demands. Your company could move locations, add branch offices, adjust the services provided, or even purchase another entity. If anything changes with your business operations in your accreditation cycle, it is important to notify ACHC.

Updating your information while in your 3-year accreditation cycle is even easier now with Customer Central. You can begin the notification process online. Log into your Customer Central account and navigate to the ”MY ACCOUNT + » Edit Company Info” page.

01. Edit Company Info

Click on the “[Expand]” button to view the section that you wish to explore. For this example, we’ll look at “CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP”.

02. Select Change of Ownership

 

Select the correct change of ownership form to download the PDF. The form should be completed in Adobe Reader. Don’t have Adobe Reader? Get it here »

03. FIll out PDF

 

Complete all of the corresponding questions, save the file, and email it to your Account Advisor with any required documentation (specified in the PDF). If you have any questions while in the process, always feel free to reach out to your company’s Account Advisor.

Customer Central allows you to complete the entire process online – from account creation to accreditation! With direct access to your accreditation team and valuable new resources, achieving and maintaining accreditation has never been easier.

Ready for accreditation? Contact ACHC at (855) 937-2242 to learn more.

Home Health | Hospice | DMEPOS | Private Duty
Pharmacy | Sleep  | Behavioral Health

ACHC | Brand Guidelines 2015

The ACHC brand is more than just a logo; it is a broad representation of our essence, used to signify the exceptional quality of our healthcare provider clients. Achieving ACHC Accreditation is a notable accomplishment that your company should be proud to display. The ACHC and PCAB  Accreditation “seals” show your organization’s adherence to a rigorous set of standards, and demonstrates your commitment to providing the highest quality health care to those you serve.

Visit Customer Central at cc.achc.org or contact the ACHC Marketing Department for digital files of the logos. The kit downloaded with this document contains all of the logo variations, a sample press release, and suggested website text.

For more information, contact the ACHC Marketing Department at (855) 937-2242. Thank you for your support.


Ready for accreditation? Contact ACHC at (855) 937-2242 to learn more.

Home Health | Hospice | DMEPOS | Private Duty
Pharmacy | Sleep  | Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health Home Care

Behavioral Health Home Care integrates behavioral health interventions into home care services for patients whose mental illness, substance abuse, intellectual/developmental disabilities make it difficult, or otherwise prevent them from receiving care outside of their homes. Services are provided by a psychiatric nurse and other home care personnel, as ordered by a physician.

Watch the above video to learn more about ACHC’s Behavioral Health Home Care service.

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Ready for accreditation? Contact ACHC at (855) 937-2242 to learn more.

Home Health | Hospice | DMEPOS | Private Duty
Pharmacy | Sleep  | Behavioral Health

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