Volume 29

Contents

 

HOTCOMP Dividends Are Out!

 

OSHA COVID -19 Control and Prevention


HOTCOMP Dividends Are Out!

Keep an eye out for your dividend check! Do to COVID – 19 the checks were sent out from a third party vendor. Please tell your mailroom staff to keep a look out.

This year marks the twelfth in a series of safety group dividend payments from Texas Mutual Insurance Company.* Recently the Hospitals of Texas safety group (HOTCOMP) has received $202,713 in dividends. The dividend was earned based on the group members’ dedication to making safety a priority in their hospitals and therefore keeping the group’s loss ratio low. This year marks a total dividend payout to our members since the inception in 2008 of $3,304,894!

Since 1999, Texas Mutual has distributed more than $150 million in safety group dividends among qualifying safety groups. Since that time, Texas Mutual has distributed more than $2 billion in both safety group and individual policyholder dividends.

In addition to potential dividends, HOTCOMP safety group members also receive discounts on their workers’ compensation premiums and have access to free workplace safety materials designed for Texas Hospitals.

“Texas Mutual safety services offers valuable information that helps keep hospital employees safe,” said Barry Couch, program manager. “It’s great to know that Texas Mutual is in HotComp’s corner with safety tips and dividends that help hospitals keep costs low and focus on delivering quality care.”

While Texas Mutual has awarded dividends each year since 1999, they are based on performance and therefore are not guaranteed. These dividends are based on the group’s loss history rather than the hospital’s individual history. Hospital members continuously make efforts to reduce claims and improve employee safety measures, assuring that the dividend potential remains for the HOTComp program.

Additionally, dividends must comply with Texas Department of Insurance regulations.

*The dividend calculation period is 18, 30, and 42 months after the group anniversary inception date. In 2018 for the 18 month calculation period, HOTCOMP did not qualify for dividends due to a high loss ratio.

 

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OSHA COVID -19 Control and Prevention for Healthcare Workers

This section provides guidance for healthcare workers and employers. This guidance supplements the general interim guidance for workers and employers of workers at increased risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Employers should remain alert of changing outbreak conditions, including as they relate to community spread of the virus and testing availability, and implement infection prevention measures accordingly. As states or regions satisfy the gating criteria to progress through the phases of the guidelines for Opening up America Again, employers will likely be able to adapt this guidance to better suit evolving risk levels and necessary control measures in their workplaces.

Employers should assess the hazards to which their workers may be exposed; evaluate the risk of exposure; and select, implement, and ensure workers use controls to prevent exposure. The table below provides examples of healthcare work tasks associated with the exposure risk levels in OSHA’s occupational exposure risk pyramid, which may serve as a guide to employers in this sector.

Examples of healthcare work tasks associated with exposure risk levels

Lower (caution)MediumHighVery High

  • Performing administrative duties in non-public areas of healthcare facilities, away from other staff members.

Note: For activities in the lower (caution) risk category, OSHA's Interim Guidance for Workers and Employers of Workers at Lower Risk of Exposure may be most appropriate

  • Providing care to the general public who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients.

  • Working at busy staff work areas within a healthcare facility.

  • Entering a known or suspected COVID-19 patient’s room.

  • Providing care for a known or suspected COVID-19 patient not involving aerosol-generating procedures.

  • Performing aerosol-generating procedures (e.g., intubation, cough induction procedures, bronchoscopies, some dental procedures and exams, or invasive specimen collection) on known or suspected COVID-19 patients.

  • Collecting or handling specimens from known or suspected COVID-19 patients.

Until more is known about how COVID-19 spreads, OSHA recommends using a combination of standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and eye protection (e.g., goggles, face shields) to protect healthcare workers with exposure to the virus.

The CDC provides the most updated infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare workers managing suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Employers of healthcare workers are responsible for following applicable OSHA requirements, including OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030), Personal Protective Equipment (29 CFR 1910.132), and Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134) standards. See the Standards page for additional information on OSHA requirements.

Until more is known about how COVID-19 spreads, OSHA recommends using a combination of standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and eye protection (e.g., goggles, face shields) to protect healthcare workers with exposure to the virus.

The CDC provides the most updated infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare workers managing suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Employers of healthcare workers are responsible for following applicable OSHA requirements, including OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030), Personal Protective Equipment (29 CFR 1910.132), and Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134) standards. See the Standards page for additional information on OSHA requirements.

Engineering Controls

Use engineering controls to shield healthcare workers, patients, and visitors from individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. This includes physical barriers or partitions in triage areas to guide patients, curtains separating patients in semi-private areas, and airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) with proper ventilation. AIIRs are single-patient rooms with negative pressure that provide a minimum of 6 air exchanges (existing structures) or 12 air exchanges (new construction or renovation) per hour.

If an AIIR is:

  • Available: Place patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in an AIIR if available at the healthcare facility. Perform aerosol-generating procedures on patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in an AIIR. Ensure that the room air exhausts directly to unoccupied areas outside of the building (i.e., not into walkways, break areas, or other areas where workers or visitors could congregate or pass through), or passes through a high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter, if recirculated.
  • Not available: Isolate the patient in a private room. If available, negative-pressure rooms (i.e., rooms under negative pressure that may not meet all of the specifications of an ideal AIIR) are preferable to ordinary exam or patient rooms. Keep the room door closed. Isolation tents or other portable containment structures may serve as alternative patient-placement facilities when AIIRs are not available and/or examination room space is limited. Ensure that the room air exhausts directly to unoccupied areas outside of the building, or passes through a HEPA filter, if recirculated.

    The CDC/Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Healthcare Facilities contain additional information on negative-pressure room control for airborne infection isolation.

    Administrative Controls

    Consistent with the general interim guidance, isolate patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to prevent transmission of the disease to other individuals. If possible, isolating suspected cases separately from confirmed cases may also help prevent transmission.

    Restrict the number of personnel entering the room of a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. This may involve training healthcare workers in the appropriate use of PPE so they can perform tasks such as housekeeping and meal service to reduce the need for environmental and food service workers to enter areas where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are isolated.

    Follow CDC guidelines for signs for and labeling of patient room doors when transmission-based precautions (i.e., contact and airborne precautions) are in place.

    Minimize the number of staff present when performing aerosol-generating procedures.

    Safe Work Practices

    Perform as many tasks as possible in areas away from a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 (e.g., do not remain in an isolation area to perform charting; use closed-circuit television systems to communicate with patients in an isolation area when a worker does not need to be physically present).

    Work from clean to dirty (i.e., touching clean body sites or surfaces before touching dirty or heavily contaminated areas) and limit opportunities for touch contamination (e.g., adjusting glasses, rubbing the nose, or touching face with gloves that have been in contact with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients or contaminated/potentially contaminated surfaces). Also, prevent touch contamination by avoiding unnecessary touching of environmental surfaces (such as light switches and door handles) with contaminated gloves.

    Ensure that there are systems in place to:

    • Differentiate clean areas (e.g., where PPE is put on) from potentially contaminated areas (e.g., where PPE is removed);
    • Handle waste and other potentially infectious materials; and
    • Clean, disinfect, and maintain reusable equipment and PPE.

    Use caution when handling needles or other sharps, and dispose of contaminated sharps in puncture-proof, labeled, closable sharps containers.

    Workers should avoid touching their faces, including their eyes, noses, and mouths, particularly until after they have thoroughly washed their hands upon completing work and/or removing PPE.

    Train and retrain workers on how to follow established protocols.

    Personal Protective Equipment

    Healthcare workers must use proper PPE when exposed to a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or other sources of SARS-CoV-2 (See OSHA’s PPE standards at 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I).

    OSHA recommends that healthcare workers with exposure to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients wear:

    • Gloves
    • Gowns
    • Eye/face protection (e.g., goggles, face shield)
    • NIOSH-certified, disposable N95 filter facepiece respirators or better

    Use respiratory protection as part of a comprehensive respiratory protection program that meets the requirements of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134) and includes medical exams, fit testing, and training.

    When removing potentially contaminated PPE such as an N95 respirator, do not touch the outside of the respirator without wearing gloves.

    In addition to the PPE considerations for all workers and employers of workers at increased risk of occupational exposure, CDC has developed strategies for optimizing the supply of PPE, including specifically for:

    Further Information
    Home care:

    CDC has developed interim guidance for healthcare providers who are coordinating the home care and isolation or quarantine of people confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.

    Cleaning and disinfection in healthcare:

    Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures (e.g., using cleaners and water to pre-clean surfaces before applying an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant to frequently touched surfaces or objects for appropriate contact times as indicated on the product’s label) are appropriate for SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare settings, including those patient-care areas in which aerosol-generating procedures are performed.

    Refer to List N on the EPA website for EPA-registered disinfectants that have qualified under EPA’s emerging viral pathogens program for use against SARS-CoV-2.

    Follow standard practices for disinfection and sterilization of medical devices contaminated with COVID-19, as described in the CDC Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008.

    Note that workers who perform cleaning and disinfection in healthcare may require PPE and/or other controls to protect them simultaneously from chemical hazards posed by disinfectants and from human blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious materials to which they have occupational exposure in the healthcare environment. Employers may need to adapt guidance from this Healthcare Workers and Employers section, the Environmental Services Workers and Employers section, and the interim guidance for workers and employers of workers at increased risk of occupational exposure, to fully protect workers performing cleaning and disinfection activities in healthcare workplaces.

     

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    Safety Training at Texas Mutual

    Building a safer workplace is your number one way to control workers’ compensation costs. Explore resources exclusively available to you as a Texas Mutual policyholder.

    Online tools and e-Learning

    • Safety webinars
    • Safety courses
    • Online OSHA training
    • Texas Mutual events

    Click Here to check it out.

     

    Your Safety Committee

    The HOTCOMP Safety Committee meets twice a year to discuss the issues of safety in our member hospitals and what we can do to do to help make them safer workplaces.The majority of the Committee members are administrators and safety specialists in your fellow member hospitals. We understand that issues come up through the year. If you would like to post a question to the safety committee members as a group or individuals, please email us at safety@hotcomp.net. We will pass your questions on to the appropriate member(s).

    Barry Couch,
    Program Administrator
    Brian Roland, CEO
    Muenster Memorial Hospital
    Gayle Cannon, Director of HR
    Childress Regional Medical Center
    Carol Villareal, HR Manager
    Gonzales Healthcare System
    Christi Reeves, Nursing AVP
    Oakbend Medical Center
     

    About Safety Matters:

    It is our hope that this publication, in addition to Texas Mutual’s Safety Resource Center, proves a useful tool to promote safety in our members’ hospitals. The newsletter will focus on safety issues that specifically trend to our membership hospitals.

    We hope to hear from you on safety issues your hospital is facing and on successful safety procedures you have implemented. It is the safety committee’s goal to create a collaborative exchange of ideas that contributes to making all of our hospitals safer which, in turn, will increase our safety group’s benefits.

    Please send your ideas, questions and comments to safety@hotcomp.net.

    Why Your Safety Matters:

    You’re receiving this email as a member of the HOTComp safety group. The group is a joint effort between HealthSure and Texas Mutual Insurance Company.

    Group members receive exclusive benefits like targeted safety resources, a discount on their workers’ compensation insurance and potential dividends based upon the safe performance of the group. HOTComp group participants have shared in over $3 million in group dividends since 2008 in addition to individual dividends from Texas Mutual.

     

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