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The FDA has amended the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for sterilizers and disinfecting devices. This action is an important step in helping to reduce shortages of critical N95 respirators by allowing decontaminated devices to be reused by medical professionals. The sterilizers are significantly more efficient and some can cleanse N95 masks multiple times without degrading its performance. Please see the attached summary as well as information specific to the STERRAD Sterilization systems. In addition, see guidelines for decontamination of masks and shields using Ozone Sterilization, Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide Decontamination and Ultra Violet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI). We anticipate additional information and will update you accordingly.

As providers continue to address COVID-19, a focus on PPE remains critical. Our members continue to employ innovative solutions for PPE conservation such as a Centralized Approach and universal masking. These links provide relevant information you can use to educate your teams. In addition, this Protection Check can be posted as a reminder to caregivers about the appropriate face wear to use.

Efforts to conserve PPE should leave no stone unturned. Many hospitals have recently moved PPE to one or more central locations across the facility to establish and maintain control of scarce PPE inventories. Some facilities have discovered that after taking steps to exert more control over PPE utilization, facility-wide searches for PPE in locations such as lounges, patient units, closets, offices, and training rooms reveal products that have been stored away by well-intentioned staff trying to make sure they could find PPE to care for patients. The discoveries sometimes reveal that there may not be as much control over PPE as thought. As you implement strategies for PPE conservation, please continue to educate staff so they understand expectations concerning PPE use and reuse, and maintain vigilance to control and monitor supply usage.

Are you considering handmade masks? To conserve personal protective equipment, members have found innovative ways to create masks utilizing new, unused surgical overwraps. You can find information and considerations here including Medline’s guidance concerning the use of their Gemini Bonded Wrap to make homemade masks. 

CMS grants hospitals maximum flexibility to care for non-COVID-19 patients outside their four walls. Among the variances granted by CMS, hospitals can transfer patients to outside facilities such as surgery centers for cancer procedures and certain essential surgeries. In addition, hospitals, laboratories and other entities can test for COVID-19 in patient’s homes or other settings. CMS is reducing paperwork by creating temporary relief from many reporting requirements, and promoting telehealth in Medicare by expanding to 80 additional services. More information is provided here on other ways CMS is helping hospitals care for patients.

Executive Briefings are hosted each Tuesday by HealthTrust leadership and subject matter experts. To access the recording of today’s Briefing, please dial (855) 859-2056 or (404) 537-3406 and enter Conference ID: 6267199. We welcome your topics of interest and innovative ideas. Please forward any requests for content or questions to your HealthTrust account director. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The content in this communication is provided for informational purposes only and intended for its direct recipients. Due to the urgent and dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential member best practices, experimental techniques, and other materials herein may be preliminary, evolving and subject to change. Nothing herein is intended to replace health system practices and independent clinical decision-making, which are the sole responsibility of systems and their practitioners. HealthTrust, on behalf of itself and any members that have provided this content, expressly disclaims any liability for health system operational and treatment decisions.