DHMH Submits to General Assembly a Report on Safety Standards for Outpatient Oncology, Rheumatology Offices

Baltimore, MD (December 17, 2014) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has submitted a report by the Safety Standards workgroup to the General Assembly. The workgroup was tasked with studying appropriate national safety standards for mixing, reconstituting and performing similar, routine acts by or under the supervision of an oncologist, rheumatologist or hematologist in an outpatient setting.
 
The workgroup was established by Senate Bill 1108, Chapter 580 of the Acts of 2014, and was chaired by DHMH. The workgroup comprised such stakeholders as representatives from the Board of Pharmacy, the Board of Physicians, MedChi, the Maryland and District of Columbia Society of Clinical Oncology (MDCSCO), as well as community practitioners. 
 
The workgroup developed recommendations on the appropriate minimum safety standards for outpatient oncology and rheumatology practices in three key areas: infection control, accurate dosing and administration, and hazardous drugs. 
 
“Safety standards are critical to the safe and effective care of oncology and rheumatology patients because of the baseline immuno-compromised state of many of these individuals and because of the potential for drug toxicity related to specific agents used in these specialties,” said Dr. Mona Gahunia, DHMH’s Chief Medical Officer.
 
“The development of these standards has ensured that oncology providers will have proper procedures to accurately and safely administer chemotherapy to cancer patients. Furthermore, these safety standards can be adapted to allow patients access to cancer treatment services in a range of practice settings,” said Paul Celano, MD, President of MDCSCO.
 
The workgroup’s report can be found here
 

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Arboviruses, such as the EEE virus, are most common during the summer and fall months. The viruses are transmitted by infected mosquitoes and spread to humans, birds, horses and other animals. Since mosquitoes can breed in as little as a quarter inch of water, eliminating standing water is critical for the control of mosquito populations. Many factors impact when and where outbreaks occur, such as weather, numbers of mosquitoes that spread the virus, and human behavior.

The Worcester and Wicomico County Health Department provides the following tips to help prevent contact with mosquitoes and reduce risk of infection with EEE or other mosquito borne illnesses:

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Extreme Heat often results in the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards. In most of the United States, extreme heat is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In extreme heat, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. This can lead to death by overworking the human body. Remember that:

Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.

Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.

Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

IF YOU ARE UNDER AN EXTREME HEAT WARNING:

  • Find air conditioning.
  • Avoid strenuous activities.
  • Watch for heat illness.
  • Wear light clothing.
  • Check on family members and neighbors.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car.

Learn more tips for staying cool and safe during extreme heat by clicking the image below

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