In response to the December 2013 Survey and Certification letter on preventive maintenance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), The Joint Commission has updated its requirements. In a March 4 publication, the organization announced that it has added two new “elements of performance” regarding maintenance of medical equipment and utility systems.

In keeping with the CMS letter, both of the Joint Commission’s additions clarify “the circumstances when a hospital may adjust its maintenance, inspection, and testing activities for facility and medical equipment from what is recommended by the manufacturer.” Both revised requirements apply to the Joint Commission’s Environment of Care chapter.

For medical equipment, the new requirement specifies when hospitals must follow manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance. As required by CMS, hospitals must do so for medical lasers, imaging and radiologic equipment, and new equipment with “insufficient maintenance history to support the use of alternative maintenance strategies.”

The new rule for utility systems similarly requires that hospitals inspect, test, and maintain “new operating components of utility systems in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations when insufficient maintenance history exists to support the use of alternative maintenance strategies.”

The new requirements take effect on July 1, 2014. More information  is available on the Joint Commission website.