With the New Year comes goal setting and resolution making. As you look at ways in the coming year to keep things running smoothly at your medical practice, why not make compliance one of your New Year’s resolutions? One way to make sure you maintain compliance is by reviewing your processes and procedures to make sure there are no gaps. Let’s take a look at some new procedures you might want to put in place or use to adapt your existing policies.
Review Your Record Keeping
Did you know that 25 percent of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions within the first week? One way to stay focused on your goal is to have a written plan, which is a big part of staying compliant. In fact, a clinic in Missouri was penalized by OSHA for not reviewing their exposure plan annually, not updating safety data sheets, and not having a list of hazardous chemicals they used. The first of the year is a great time to do an audit to make sure you are keeping the required documents on file. Schedule regular document reviews to make sure you not only have the required internal documents on file (such as the ones mentioned above), but also have signed manifest forms for all medical waste pickups, including certificates of destruction.
Conduct Routine Inspections
There are certain things that should be checked on a regular basis to make sure proper procedures are being followed. If, for example, any errors in medical waste segregation are being made by staff, you’ll want to find out as soon as possible to prevent mistakes going forward. Inspect both medical waste and regular trash receptacles regularly to make sure that the waste streams are not being mixed.
You’ll also want to designate someone to regularly inspect all of your containers (especially if they are reusable) to make sure they are not damaged. Also, make sure that your sharps containers are not being overfilled. Ideally, the containers should only be filled two-thirds full, to prevent a hazard and ensure a proper seal when they are closed.
Consolidate Your Training
Compliance training is a requirement for anyone handling medical waste. Employees should be trained on a regular basis, including initial and annual training for part-time and temporary employees. New employees should be trained within ten days. In addition, most organizations conduct HIPAA training on an annual basis, as a best practice. All training must be documented to provide proof of compliance. Do you have a waste services provider who can assist you with compliance training? If not, consider that as an effective way to consolidate training and save time on your part — especially if they offer online training. Also, you can make sure you are staying on top of the latest OSHA, DOT, and EPA regulations without you or another staff member having to do the required research.
Measure Your Waste
Do you know how much medical waste your practice produces? Keeping track of how much and what type of waste you generate will help with pickup scheduling, container management, and even help you maintain compliance by assuring you are being categorized as the right size waste generator. The amount of waste you generate also determines storage procedures, including how long you can store the waste and at what temperature.
By focusing on procedures that can help your medical practice maintain compliance, you can kick off the new year on a positive note. Review your current policies with your trusted waste solutions provider to help identity any gaps and rely on them to make suggestions for improvement. Ideally, they should also be able to provide a solution for employee training. Working with a full-service company can help you keep your New Year’s compliance resolution! Contact us for a free consultation to see how you can improve your procedures in the coming year.