CMS updates medical equipment maintenance requirements

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services late last month updated its equipment maintenance guidelines requiring all medical imaging and radiation therapy equipment in hospitals to be maintained according to the manufacturer's recommended standards.

According to the directive, a hospital may adjust its maintenance, inspection and testing activities and frequency from the manufacturer's specifications unless:

  • Other Federal or state law; or hospital Conditions of Participation (CoPs) require adherence to manufacturer's recommendations and/or set specific requirements. For example, all imaging/radiologic equipment must be maintained per manufacturer's recommendations [emphasis added]; or
  • The equipment is a medical laser device; or
  • New equipment without a sufficient amount of maintenance history has been acquired.

This issue has been of concern to medical imaging and radiology groups since last summer, when it became known that CMS was considering the possibility of allowing hospitals to deviate from these specific manufacturer's maintenance requirements.

Federal legislators also began to pressure CMS to forget the idea of loosening these device maintenance standards. In November, Reps. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) sent a letter to CMS warning that the change "may put patients and health care personnel at unnecessary and avoidable risk," The Hill reported.

The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) praised the move, saying the updated directive will promote the safety of patients and operators, while maintaining imaging quality and equipment performance.

"MITA commends CMS for taking an important step to protect public health by requiring that manufacturer's recommended maintenance standards are used to maintain medical imaging and RT equipment in hospitals," said Gail Rodriguez, executive director of MITA, in an announcement.

To learn more:
- here's the CMS directive
- read the MITA announcement

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