How to Create a Medical Waste Compliance Plan for Your Healthcare Practice
Between March 2020 and November 2021, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO Global analysis of health care waste estimated that 87,000 tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) was shipped worldwide and eventually ended up as waste. This is in addition to the regular, ongoing medical waste and the use of masks by the general public.
Now, more than ever, it is important that healthcare practices have a waste compliance plan to help protect our citizens, our country, and our world from the hazards of medical waste. Healthcare practices of every size must comply with medical waste disposal requirements and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards. It is both the legal and ethical responsibility of all health care practices to protect employees and patients.
Here are some guidelines to help create a compliance plan for your healthcare practice, no matter what the size your organization is:
Everything rises and falls on leadership. Select a compliance officer to gather the troops, communicate the plan, and lead the way. You need your whole staff on board. This person can create a team of other leaders to make the movement successful. Your staff will need these leaders as point people to go to for questions and concerns.
When you choose a compliance officer, look for someone with leadership skills and medical knowledge, like a nurse or office manage. Ensure that they are well trained from the beginning. Invest in your people, and they will invest in the plan that maintains the health and safety of your organization. It’s a win-win.
2. Standards Manual
It is important to have a physical copy of the guidelines available to all staff members. This written plan needs to be articulate, specific, and detailed, but easy to follow. Find a good writer among your employees or hire someone to create it. Schedule dates in the future to regularly revisit and update it. Reference it when addressing any compliance issues that may arise.
All staff must be familiar with procedures and guidelines. From the start, your compliance officer should initiate a full training process for all staff to become familiar with the contents of the plan. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and up to date. As new staff are hired, make compliance training a part of the onboarding process. Then, incorporate training updates into your meetings and retreats.
Sometimes when we’re familiar with how we should do things, we aren’t familiar with what non-compliance looks like. Review practices that are unsafe and aren’t in accordance with medical waste laws. Explain the liability that comes with non-compliance and support employees in never cutting corners and calling out non-compliant practices. For the safety and health of your staff, employees, and clients, keep the bar high on expectations and consequences for not following established procedures.
Help Is Available
The task of creating and implementing a compliance plan may seem daunting at first, but the best way to accomplish a task is to take one small step at a time and make sure you have allies so you don’t have to do it alone.
GreenServ partners with healthcare practices throughout Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas to provide state- and federally-compliant medical waste disposal services as well as consulting and training services for your management and staff. To get started, give us a call at 662-533-0940 or complete the form on this page.