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Compliance News: TJC Announces CMS-driven Restrictions on Relocatable Power Taps

| David Stymiest

According to a new press release from AAMI, TJC Director of Engineering George Mills announced new restrictions on the use and application of Relocatable Power Taps during his speech at the AAMI 2014 Conference in Philadelphia on June 1, 2014.

According to Underwriters Laboratories (UL) relocatable power taps, often also called outlet strips, are listed under the Relocatable Power Taps category (XBYS). The more commonly-used term within the healthcare field for relocatable power taps is “power strips.” According to AAMI, Mr. Mills stated that these changes are being made by TJC at the insistence of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and will be effective immediately. He also stated that TJC will issue more details during June.

AAMI is the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, the national association for clinical engineering personnel. AAMI tweeted a news teaser Sunday afternoon during Mr. Mills’ presentation. The AAMI press release with more details is available at: http://www.aami.org/news/2014/060114_Mills_Announces_Major_Changes.html.

Mr. Mills advised that the CMS requirements mean relocatable power taps cannot be used with medical equipment in patient care areas. This broad phrase would include operating rooms, patient rooms, recovery rooms, exam rooms and diagnostic procedure rooms. It appears that, in this regard, TJC surveys will now becoming more closely aligned with the more restrictive CMS interpretations that hospitals have been experiencing for some time during CMS validation surveys. Many hospitals that have struggled with this issue in the past may now be finding themselves installing more receptacles within these types of areas.

According to the AAMI press release, the restriction does not apply to non-patient care equipment such as computers and printers or to areas such as nurse stations, offices and waiting rooms.

Although the AAMI press release focuses on the impact of this announcement to clinical engineering personnel, there is also the possibility of significant impact to facilities as organizations struggle with the issue of not enough receptacles or receptacles not being located in enough convenient-for-use locations within patient care areas.

We first wrote about this issue in March 2009 (http://ssr-cfm-articles.blogspot.com/2009/03/power-strips-in-patient-care-areas.html). For reference, the ASHE Listserv has numerous more recent postings discussing application of and compliance issues surrounding relocatable power taps in healthcare. ASHE members can find them the ASHE Listserv references by going to www.ashe.org, signing in, and then accessing and searching the Listserv for the phrase “relocatable power taps” or the phrase “power strips.”

For updated information, see the August 2014 Compliance News, “Additional Information on Relocatable Power Taps.”

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