Sunday, February 08 2015
Maryland Healthcare Is Saving On Medical Waste
Review this article on ways to reduce Regulated Biohazard Waste and Medical Waste in Maryland
Study sees huge savings in hospital sustainability
Hospitals can save by reducing unnecessary medical waste, increasing recycling
Recycling and reducing common wasteful practices can save hospitals money - lots of it, according to a recently released study.
Susan Kaplan, research assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago's school of public health, was the lead author of the report, which says the industry as a whole could save $5.4 billion in five years and up to $15 billion in 10 years if it adopts sustainable practices.
The study considered several hospitals that recently went through various sustainable measures and extrapolated their findings out to the general hospital and health care system.
Among the areas for potential savings, according to the study: reduce medical waste through better segregation; reduce landfilled waste through recycling; more efficient purchase of operating room supplies; and the switch to reprocessed devices in the operating room over single-use devices.
Among the simple waste reduction efforts, the hospitals studied showed a range of 50 cents per patient per day in savings to more than $2.50 per patient per day. Changes in the operating room were as high as $57 per operation.
"We had seen some anecdotal evidence that was very suggestive and showed potentially some very significant [cost savings in a more sustainable model]," Kaplan said.
Many of the changes, promoted by Practice Greenhealth, Health Care Without Harm and the Healthier Hospital Initiative are very inexpensive to implement, Kaplan said.
"Many of them have virtually no upfront costs," she said. "To us, that was one of the most interesting findings."
Often hospital employees throw regular waste together with the regulated medical waste, often referred to as red bag waste. The cost of disposal of medical waste is much higher than regular waste, so adding unnecessary waste can skyrocket costs.
Simply educating employees on what is proper medical waste and what can be disposed in the solid waste stream could lead to big savings, Kaplan said.
"My impression is that perhaps there's a lack of awareness," Kaplan said as to why that practice seems common. "It seemed like the major intervention here was staff intervention and education about segregating in the right waste streams."
Operating rooms are often a place where small sustainable practices can lead to big savings too, according to the study. Many operating rooms are fraught with one-time-use devices that are tossed after the surgery, but there are multi-use products available.
Cardiac catheters, orthopedic surgical blades and ultrasound catheters are among the items that can be easily reprocessed.
"They are minimum costs to the hospital with cost savings beginning immediately," Kaplan said.
Blair Sadler, senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, one of the authors of the study and former CEO of Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, Calif., said the idea of saving money though environmental sustainability efforts is no longer theoretical.
"I was struck by the significant evidence and experience that is now out there," he said. "You can really make a difference in sustainability that improves health care quality and improves the financial bottom line. It's no longer a debate, it's a matter of understanding it, accepting it and deciding which of the variety of strategies or tactics that you want to employ."
Kaplan said for a sustainability program to be successful, there has to be a buy-in from management all the way down to employees.
"Any hospital can start implementing the program. The information on how to get started is out there," she said. "But the culture of commitment can really make a difference."
Sunday, December 07 2014
Packing Medical Waste In Maryland DC & VA
Looking for information on how to package and transport medical waste? here is a quick overview on some basic guidelines for regulated waste packing and disposal. Contact Us or your local Biohazard waste transporter for more informtions.
INTRODUCTION – Packing Regulated Medical Waste - GENERAL AWARENESS-FAMILIARIZATION
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the transport of hazardous materials in commerce. The Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR, Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 171-180) set forth standards for classification, packaging, hazard communication, emergency response information, training of hazmat employees, transportation, incident reporting, and security.
Current DOT regulations require training (and retraining) of all employees who perform work functions covered by the Health-Care provider. Any employee who works in a shipping, receiving or material handling area may be involved in preparing or transporting hazardous materials, and if so would be considered a vital employee for the training needed to work with Regulated Medical Waste and other Hazardous waste. Common hazmat employee functions covered by this training requirement include, but are not limited to the following:
• Filling a hazardous materials packaging
• Closing a filled hazardous materials package or container
• Marking or labeling a package to indicate it contains a hazardous material
• Preparing a shipping paper
• Certifying on the shipping paper that a hazardous material is in proper condition for transportation
• Loading a hazardous material package onto a transport vehicle
The training must include information on general awareness and familiarization of the HMR, security awareness, safety, and information specific to the functions carried out by the hazmat employee. Certificates of training and testing, along with the training materials, must be kept on file by the hazmat employer. There can be significant penalties imposed by the DOT for not complying with the HMR and these training requirements.
A hazardous material is a substance or material which has been determined by the Secretary of Transportation to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and which has been so designated by the following class.
1 – Explosives
2 – Compressed gases
3 – Flammable liquids
4 – Flammable solids
5 – Oxidizers and organic peroxides
6 – Toxic and infectious substances
7 – Radioactive materials
8 – Corrosives
9 – Miscellaneous hazardous materials
Some of the 9 hazard classes are further divided into subclasses called Divisions. For example, Class 2 includes Division 2.1 (Flammable gases), Division 2.2 (Nonflammable gases), and Division 2.3 (Toxic gases). The Hazardous Materials Table (49 CFR 172.101) is the backbone of the Hazardous Materials Regulations. Understanding and knowing how to use this table is the first step toward compliance. For each material listed, the Hazardous Materials Table identifies each hazard class or specifies that the material is forbidden in transportation. It provides the proper shipping name of the material or directs the user to the preferred proper shipping name. In addition, the table specifies or references requirements pertaining to labeling, packaging, and quantity limits aboard aircraft, and stowage of hazardous materials aboard vessels.
REGULATED MEDICAL WASTE
Definition – In General
Regulated medical waste, also known as infectious waste, biohazards waste, or path waste, is defined in the HMR as: waste or reusable material derived from the medical treatment of an animal or human, which includes diagnosis and immunization, or from biomedical research, which includes the production and testing of biological products. Waste capable of producing an infectious disease because it contains pathogens of sufficient virulence and quantity so that exposure to the waste by a susceptible human host could result in an infectious disease.
These wastes include isolation wastes, cultures and stocks of etiologic agents, blood and blood products, pathological wastes, other contaminated wastes from surgery and autopsy, contaminated laboratory wastes, sharps, dialysis unit wastes, and discarded biological materials known or suspected to be infectious.
Regulated medical waste has particular packaging requirements which must be followed in order to comply with DOT regulations. Laboratory workers are responsible for using the proper biohazard bags and boxes or plastic tubs, and closing them correctly. Laboratory workers should refer to the guidelines provided by the regulated medical waste disposal vendor for proper packaging instructions. These instructions are provided at all the path waste pickup locations.
Key points to remember are outlined below.
• Only use DOT approved boxes, tubs and bags provided by the medical waste disposal vendor
• The weight limit on boxes or tubs are 40lbs (Industry Standard)
• Sharp materials must be placed into puncture-resistant containers prior to placing in a box or tub
• Boxes and tubs must be lined with the provided RED plastic Bio-Liner
• Bags must be sealed
• Boxes and tubs must be securely closed and taped
• Boxes or tubs must not be leaking
All required markings, including the universal biohazard symbol, are present on the provided boxes and tubs.
Regulated medical waste must be accompanied by a shipping paper when transported. The shipping paper is known as the Regulated Medical Waste Manifest, which is provided by the waste disposal vendor, and acts as a tracking document for the transporter and disposal facility. The manifest provides information to emergency responders, identifying the hazardous material from the Hazardous Materials Table, by proper shipping name, hazard class, ID number, and packing group as shown below: Regulated medical waste, 6.2, UN3291, PG II
The quantity of waste must also appear on the manifest, and is documented by the transporter at the time of pickup. The manifest should only be signed by a worker that has completed this training. By signing the manifest at the time of pickup, the laboratory worker is certifying that the regulated medical waste is packaged properly and is ready for transport. This is ensured when laboratory workers follow the packaging guidelines provided by the disposal vendor.
Emergency response information is required to be included with the shipping paper for a hazardous material. This information is provided on the Regulated Medical Waste Manifest, and includes contact numbers in case of an emergency involving the hazardous material. The regulated medical waste transporter will have additional emergency response information available at all times the material is in transport, and will also have the necessary spill and contamination control materials available.
Comply with applicable federal, state, and local requirements. When handling containers of potentially biohazard material, the laboratory worker should always take the necessary measures to avoid exposure. Laboratory coats or aprons, eye protection, face shields, gloves, respiratory protection, or other personal protective equipment should be used when necessary. Laboratory workers should be aware of the potential for sharps injuries, as well as leaking containers. If a container is found to be leaking, use caution and the appropriate personal protective equipment to transfer the material to a non-leaking container.
Sunday, November 30 2014
Maryland Medical Waste Disposal And Issues Associated With Maryland Biohazard Services
On the public’s health, Inappropriate or improper handling, treatment or disposal may result in individual, as well as community health problems. There are many laws and regulations concerning the disposal of medical waste in Maryland, Currently, these do not work in concert
Hazards of Medical Waste in Maryland
There is great variation in the composition of medical waste. Much of the waste that is produced in these settings is not considered hazardous or threatening to human health.
Medical Waste History In Maryland
Medical Waste History In Maryland
There has been a proliferation of federal and state regulations enactments to protect the public’s health
The late 1980s and early 1990s ushered in an era of pollution controls and waste minimization
Programs, a number of groups supportive of responsible waste policies have been formed
Current Situation in Maryland, according to the CDC: “Infectious and non-infectious wastes should be separated at the point of generation. If the infectious waste contains noninfectious hazards, it should be identified and subjected to additional treatment” There is great variation in classification and handling of waste at a state, municipality and institutional level. Current Situation in Maryland Certain medical waste may sterilized and reused other items cannot be sterilized and are thus disposed.
Medical waste is often stored separately from other waste through “red-bagging” Over classification
may result Current Situation in Maryland Medical and biohazard disposal. At Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, what is colloquially known as the “rotoclave” operation is used other treatment methods include: chemical disinfection, steam autoclaving, gamma irradiation, microwave irradiation, radio frequency irradiation, incineration, sewer disposal for liquid wastes, landfilling. The major Maryland State regulations dealing with medical waste fall under the authority of the DHMH and MDE. There exists overlap and in congruency between some provisions of the two regulations
Information Provided by regulated waste Services-
By Claire Nguyen -In Collaboration with Ginny Seyler and Sharmi Das
By Claire Nguyen
In Collaboration with
Ginny Seyler and Sharmi Das
Thursday, October 10 2013
Save Money On Biohazard Sharps Disposal
Need to save money on medical waste and sharps waste disposal? There are many things an office can do to save money on waste disposal. Here is a great article on Saving money on biohazard waste disposal.
RWS & Associates
Sunday, September 15 2013
Maryland Sharps Disposal Company
A how to in Maryland & Virginia, on Sharps Needles disposal. Properly disposing of Sharps needles is everyone’s responsibility. Of all the Biohazard waste we handle, Sharps are a top priority for SAFETY. Now to properly dispose of Sharps, it depends on what type of Sharps Class user you are.
SHARPS Disposal Doctors Office
Reusable Sharps Disposal Hospital
SHARPS Disposal at Home
We suggest that you contact your local health department directly for help. Some things we would suggest, is to purchase a sharps container on-line or from your local pharmacy, we have seen some people use an old Laundry soap or Clorox bottle. These bottles are very durable and just as strong and thick as a Sharps Container.
Make sure to mark on the outside with permanent marker (Sharps Needles) Now, this does not mean you can toss them in the trash or you’re recycling. Again, please contact your local health department for direction, you may be able to take back to your doctor, but call them first. Another option is a Mail Back Sharps program; here is a link to a National leader in this method Mail Back Sharps
These are suggestions and should not be considered the RULE. Before making a final decision on how to dispose of your Sharps, contact your local health department, recycling center or contact us if you work at a Physician’s office.
RWS & Associates
Thursday, September 12 2013
How to SAVE money NOW - On Biohazard Sharps waste disposal.
Well the FIRST thing you do is hire RWS & Associates, which itself will save you a lot of money. I get this question a lot and honestly, there are many small things a medical practice can do, to save on disposal costs. I would start with your current waste provider, how much do you pay?
We price our services PER BOX, most other providers will price per box, plus a monthly fee, stop fee and other crazy items they just make up. All this is to pump up your invoice and squeeze as much money out of you as possible. So again, start with your bill and current charges, see if your provider may cut you a break.
Secondly, frequency of service, very important. Are you getting service more than you need? Do you really know what is going on?
Here is a link about Saving On Biohazard Waste Disposal also some examples I have provided for you.
EXAMPLE1: You receive a Bi-Weekly pick up, of just one box, most of the time it is full. But sometimes it is just ½ full. The office staff is too busy, so they just let the driver take the box and set-up a new one. Well, that was a ½ a box of waste, not just are you paying a lot for service, but now you are giving money back to the medical waste company. Keep an eye that box, consider going to a monthly pick-up. You may have 2 boxes at the end of the month, or you may have one. So this is an easy area you can try to get a better handle on.
EXAMPLE2: Trash and I mean the kind that is not Biohazard Waste, time and time again, we see office staff putting in NON-Biohazard waste items in the medical waste box, soda bottle, pizza box, fast food, patient documents etc… Well this is just filling the box up quicker and YOU are paying for it.
These are just two examples, please review the list below and do a Biohazard Waste Audit of your own office. Good luck and feel free to contact us for any assistance or a FREE Quote.
RWS & Associates
Saturday, September 07 2013
RWS, has provided some general information on Regulations for medical waste disposal in Virginia. Please review information provided from the State of Virginia. For more information, we have provided a link to the Virginia Department Of Environment
Virginia's regulated medical waste management regulations set standards for the storage, and treatment of regulated medical waste. Regulated medical waste may be stored, steam sterilized, incinerated or treated by an acceptable alternative mechanism, and then exclusively in a facility permitted under the regulations. Innovative treatment technology may be allowed if the effectiveness of the treatment can be demonstrated. Treatment of regulated medical waste is expensive and it can result in the release of toxic emissions to the environment. Knowing where-to-throw saves money, improves compliance and worker safety, and reduces environmental impacts.
The identification of regulated medical waste as well as those items that are exempt from regulation is an important part of understanding the regulation of medical devices when they are disposed. Provided here are examples of items that are exempt from regulation and are not considered "regulated medical waste" as well as some items that are considered "regulated medical waste
RWS & Associates
Wednesday, September 04 2013
No, you cannot compact medical biohazard waste. In fact you should never compact medical waste. It is a question asked, many times over, why cant I compact my medical waste? Well, there are several reasons not to crush or compact regulated waste, by manual or mechanical means. In addition, you will find information in many regulations, as to why you should never compact waste. Provided below is a LINk to a great article that breaks it all down for you. Why you should never compact biohazard medical waste.
RWS & Associates
Saturday, August 31 2013
Is Waste Management Getting Out Of Medical Waste?
Waste Management Inc. is looking to move away from the processing of medical waste and instead rely on third-party providers of that work for customers who continue to seek that service.
RWS & Associates