Endoscopy Suites Must Take Action to Battle Ongoing Transmission of Deadly Organisms

By on 7:21 AM

This has been an eventful year for providers of gastroenterology and endoscopy services as gastrointestinal procedures gained notoriety as a result of the transmission of the deadly multidrug-resistant group of organisms known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) to patients undergoing an ERCP via duodenoscope.

Several reports of outbreaks, including the latest from a hospital in Pasadena, Calif., have been released this year describing exposure to CRE and other drug-resistant organisms including pseudomonas.

It is well known that endoscopes consist of several parts, with duodenoscopes as the most complex in design. However, colonoscopes, sigmoidoscopes and gastroscopes also require expert hands when undergoing reprocessing. It is imperative that central service technicians (CSTs) follow steps for reprocessing of endoscopes according to manufacturers' instructions as well as national guidelines such as those provided by AORN and AAMI/ANSI standards.

Even for organizations that perform ERCPs and follow manufacturers' reprocessing instructions, there is still a risk for transmission of infections. Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) that specialize in endoscopy or provide endoscopy within a multi-specialty center should take heed that accreditation agencies, departments of health and CMS (Medicare) surveyors are targeting reprocessing more aggressively than in the past.

Phenelle Segal, president of Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS), has seen a significant increase in the number of ASCs, GI centers and hospitals reaching out for assistance with assessing "best practices" in the GI setting since the beginning of the year. Facilities are wisely taking a proactive approach in their efforts to better ensure compliance and patient safety.

ICCS provides onsite assessments with detailed reports of findings and suggestions for improvement. As an experienced infection control consultant, Phenelle ensures that facilities understand the expectations for patient safety, which is always the first and most important reason to hire a consultant. In addition, preparing for a survey according to the expectations of the accreditation agencies and/or CMS is the forte of ICCS. 

Phenelle recently published a special report providing an analysis of the updated CMS surveyor worksheet for ASCs and identification and significant revisions to note. As an infection prevention expert, she is an asset to the patient safety/infection prevention team in healthcare settings.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.