JCAHO Adds New Medical Gas Rules

New emphasis on medical gas-related patient safety issues has been incorporated into the latest edition of the standards of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

In the "Environment of Care" section, # E.C. 1.9, the new parts of the utility management plan state:

"f. inspecting, testing, and maintaining critical components of piped medical gas system including master signal panels, area alarms, automatic pressure switches, shutoff valves, flexible connectors, and outlets;

g. testing piped medical gas systems when the systems are installed, modified, or repaired including cross-connection testing, piping purity testing, and pressure testing;"

This revision in the JCAHO standards was driven in part by efforts initiated by Dr. Ervin Moss, an APSF Director, author of a series of APSF Newsletter articles on gas pipeline safety issues and also one of the organizers of the well-travelled and extremely popular exhibit entitled "Behind the Walls" showing the multiplicity of patient safety dangers that can be associated with piped medical gas and vacuum systems.