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Relying on the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for infection control procedures should be safe, even if the CDC later proves to be wrong, suggests Jane J. McCaffrey, MHSA, CIC, DASHRM, a risk management consultant in Easley, SC, and a past president of American Society for Healthcare Risk Management. However, that statement does not diminish the hospital’s obligation to properly train staff on protocols and provide the necessary equipment, she says.
"One key thing each organization needs to get on board with is that there will be set protocols and no shortcuts," McCaffrey says. "Every facility will need to have a junior guru’ with the clipboard and a checklist who observes strict compliance with the recommended protocol and documents that compliance."
Quarantines might require digging deep into little-used hospital policies and the fine print of insurance policies, McCaffrey notes. Consider the following questions: Is a quarantined employee on paid leave? Will it matter if the infection was acquired at work or in the community? Will workers’ comp apply for the expenses?
Workers’ compensation costs could be contested by insurers, particularly if they claim that the hospital did not take adequate precautions. At the same time, however, some insurers are offering specific policies for losses related to Ebola. (See the stories on p. 127 and p. 128 for more on employment issues and insurance coverage.)
Jane J. McCaffrey, MHSA, CIC, DASHRM, Consultant, Easley, SC. Telephone: (864) 751-3092. Email: email@example.com.