2016 Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule Now Available
The Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule: United States, 2016 has been released by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. For 2016’s schedule, the ACIP made the following specific changes from 2015’s recommendations:
- Interval change for 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) followed by 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) from “6 to 12 months” to “at least 1 year” for immunocompetent adults aged ≥65 years. Adults aged ≥19 years with anatomical or functional asplenia, cerebrospinal fluid leak, or cochlear implant or who are immunocompromised should receive PPSV23 at least 8 weeks after PCV13.
- Serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine series should be administered to persons aged ≥10 years who are at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease. Those at increased risk include persons with anatomical or functional asplenia or persistent complement component deficiencies, microbiologists who are routinely exposed to isolates of Neisseria meningitidis, and persons identified at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak. MenB vaccine series may be administered to adolescents and young adults aged 16 through 23 years (preferred age is 16 through 18 years) to provide short-term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease.
- Nine-valent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (9vHPV) was added to the 2016 adult immunization schedule. This vaccine can be used for routine vaccination against HPV as 1 of 3 HPV vaccines (bivalent HPV vaccine [2vHPV], quadrivalent HPV vaccine [4vHPV], and 9vHPV) recommended for females and 1 of 2 HPV vaccines (4vHPV and 9vHPV) recommended for males.1
Some additional changes to the schedules were made, including:
- Revising the dosing in the “Hepatitis A” indication bar from 2 to “2 or 3 doses depending on vaccine” in order to account for the hepatitis A and hepatitis B combination vaccine
- Revising the dosing in the “Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23)” indicated bar from “1 or 2” to “1, 2, or 3 doses depending on indication”
- Revising the dosing in the “Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)” indication bar from “1 or 3” to “3 doses, post-HSCT [hemapoietic stem cell transplant] recipients only” and “1 dose” for all other adults for whom this vaccine is recommended
Click here for the full 2016 recommendations.
SOURCE: Physician Weekly | May 3, 2016
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Zika virus: CDC issues worker protection guidelines
Public health authorities have issued new guidelines to protect workers who treat patients exposed to the Zika virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned small, localized outbreaks of the virus are likely in the U.S. in the near future.
The guidelines provide recommendations for healthcare workers, the safety of whom was a major issue in 2014 amid concerns over the spread of Ebola. Healthcare workers must use standard precautions such as full hand-hygiene compliance and use of personal protective equipment during contact with potentially hazardous materials such as blood or laboratory samples. Hand-hygiene protocols should involve alcohol-based hand rubs that are at least 60 percent alcohol or, in the case of visibly-soiled hands, soap and water.
Healthcare workers must also properly dispose of potentially-contaminated sharps, reporting any needlesticks or lacerations to supervisors, the guidelines state. In circumstances where risk of exposure may be greater, healthcare workers must employ standard precautions even if they only suspect the presence of Zika.
Although there are no known cases of Zika transmission via aerosol exposure, they must also minimize aerosolization of blood or other bodily fluids during patient care and laboratory tasks.
To learn more:
– read the CDC guidelines (.pdf)
Source: FierceHealthcare | Zack Budryk | April 25, 2016
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What to do if you are notified of a HIPAA onsite audit
The very idea of being audited, regardless of by whom, is a bit disturbing. Covered entities, such as physicians, and their business associates have been subject to audits by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), a department within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for the last several years. And there’s another new set of audits coming.
Currently, Phase 2 of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Audit Program is underway. During 2016, covered entities and business associates may be asked to submit documents for a desk audit of their HIPAA compliance. Beginning next year, HHS will commence conducting onsite audits. In an onsite audit, auditors visit the practice; in a desk audit, the practice sends in documents to CMS for review.
Peter Blenkinsop, a partner at the Washington, D.C., location of law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath, says all covered entities and their business associates could be subject to either, or both, type of audit.
“You can absolutely have an onsite audit without having had a desk audit. You could also be chosen for both,” he told Medical Economics. “The onsite audits will be broader and may cover all aspects of an organization’s privacy and security practices.”
Blenkinsop says that an organization selected for an onsite audit will first receive a letter explaining how the program works and who will be conducting the audit. Next, there will be a pre-audit questionnaire and the covered entity will have 10 business days to complete and return it. Then, HHS will schedule the audit, which could last anywhere from three to 10 days.
Although the audit protocol for Phase 2 of the HIPAA Audit Program has not yet been published, the protocol from Phase 1 is available and Blenkinsop advises practices use that to help prepare for Phase 2. There were two areas where HHS found significant deficiencies during Phase 1, and Blenkinsop thinks there is a good chance Phase 2 audits will focus on those areas.
“One of the primary deficiencies they found in Phase 1 was that many covered entities had not done a thorough risk assessment of their vulnerabilities,” says Blenkinsop. “A second area where there were a lot of deficiencies was that of addressable safeguards. The security rules include a list of addressable safeguards that covered entities and business associates either must address or document why they were not addressed.” During the Phase 1 audits, many organizations failed to document why they didn’t implement some of the safeguards, he says.
Preparing for an onsite audit
A notification of an audit is nerve-wracking, regardless of how compliant your organization is. Having people come to your place of business and look at all of your records is stressful. Blenkinsop makes several points that may help soothe jangled nerves. First, he suggests having some kind of brief training for the people who will be interacting with the auditors. “Go over where the policies and procedures are stored, how they should respond to questions, and what they should expect in general,” he says.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that auditees do have the opportunity to view and comment on the draft audit report, says Blenkinsop. It is comforting to know that you will have the opportunity to correct any inaccuracies. Additionally, Blenkinsop says, “Although there is an enforcement element to these audits, the primary purpose [of the HIPAA Audit Program] is to help HHS understand where there needs to be more guidance and training.” If there is a serious compliance issue, then HHS may conduct a compliance review, which is a more focused review with the potential of taking some kind of enforcement action. Covered entities and business associates that have taken serious steps to try to comply are unlikely to be in a situation where they are being penalized by HHS as a result of an onsite audit.
Finally, although the results of an individual audit are subject to requests from the public through the Freedom of Information Act, HHS has said that in the absence of such a request, the results of individual audits will only be published in the aggregate, or with the name of the organization audited removed.