Ask HRC: Preventive Maintenance of Pneumatic Tourniquets: What Are the Requirements?

January 30, 2006 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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Healthcare Risk Control (HRC) recently received a query regarding a hospital's obligation to provide preventive maintenance of pneumatic tourniquets, which are used to occlude blood flow and maintain a bloodless surgical field during limb surgery. The healthcare facility's tourniquets did not receive regular service checks—against the advice of a letter from the manufacturer.

In brief, ECRI has stated that hospitals have a legal duty to maintain safe patient care equipment, regardless of whether the hospital, manufacturer, or a third party performs the service. Accrediting organizations such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)—and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which accepts JCAHO accreditation for deeming hospitals as complying with CMS requirements—state that hospitals must maintain, test, and inspect medical equipment. Additional state requirements...

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