Category Archives: Healthcare

man behind mask

Doctor, I’m Just Not Myself.

Medical Identity Theft is on the rise.

Security experts say that cyber criminals are increasingly targeting the $3 trillion U.S. healthcare industry. 

According to a survey by the Ponemon Institute Think Tank, the percentage of reported criminal cyber attacks on healthcare organizations has risen to 40 percent in 2013 from 20 percent in 2009.

What Are They Doing with the Stolen Data?

Typically, medical fraud scams involve provider billing and over billing.

You probably heard about medical billing scams. That’s because government and health insurance providers have a checks and balances system of sort in place to prevent fraudulent billing, and they catch it quickly. Then they report it. Then the media gets a whiff of it. They we hear all about it.

Other sorts of Medical Identity Theft are not identified so quickly by a patient or their provider, giving criminals years to milk credentials.

Medical data is more valuable to fraudster than credit cards, which tend to be quickly canceled by banks once the fraud is detected.

Take Ronnie Bogle, a museum supervisor from San Jose, California. He had his medical identity stolen for more than a decade, across several states.

His brother  Gary was stealing his identity to get healthcare.

Gary had a simple routine. He’d move to a new place, get a photo ID, then present the ID along with Ronnie’s Social Security number at hospitals and clinics to get treatment. He often claimed to be uninsured when he sought care. After treatment, the bills got sent to his house, not Ronnie’s.

Ronnie discovered what Gary was up to when he applied for a new credit card. He was turned down. His credit report had a lot of unpaid debts- from his brother’s hospital visits and treatments over the years.

“He destroyed my credit history multiple times,” Ronnie said.

It took Ronnie Bogle two years to straighten out his credit card and get his brother’s bills off his financial record. Eventually, Gary was arrested and pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal impersonation in California. He’s facing more charges in Washington state for allegedly stealing his brother’s identity there, too.

Here’s some other ideas on what Medical ID thieves can do with your data:

  1. They can bill your health plan for fake or inflated treatment claims. This kind of fraud is called Insider Fraud, because the crooks are usually employees inside the healthcare system who know how the billing system works.
  2. They can get medical treatment for free, courtesy of your policy. They take on your identity, go to the Doctor, Hospital, or Clinic, and the bills get sent to your health insurance provider.
  3. They can obtain drugs. Medical personnel with access to your data can use your identity to get prescription drugs to sell or use themselves. For example, pharmacists can bill your policy for narcotics. Nurses can call in a prescription in your name, then pick it up themselves.
  4. They can sell your patient information on the black market.
  5. They can set up fake clinics using the data stolen from many patients, then bill insurance companies for fake treatments. They can buy medical equipment for the fake clinic, then sell it on the black market.

  6. They can mess up your credit and your finances.
  7. The most dangerous aspect of medical identity fraud is when the thief’s record, history and diagnosis get mixed up with your records, delaying, tainting, and complicating your own care, even causing you to receive erroneous treatment if you need a hospital or clinic, based on the information in your file that’s about them, not you.

Imagine if a Medical Data thief uses your stolen insurance card to get diagnsis or treatment for diabetes. Your Doctor is going to want to see your toes the next time you come in.

Or, in a more extreme version, if a pregnant woman uses stolen data to get maternity care at the hospital near your home, you may be charged with neglecting “your” baby.

This is what happened to Anndorie Cromar.

The woman used Cromar’s data to sign into the maternity ward in a hospital near Cromar’s home. The baby was born with drugs in her system and Child Services were alerted. The State went after Cromar and threatened to take away the rest of her kids. She had to take a DNA test to get her name off of the infant’s birth certificate. The rest of her records took years to correct.

47 percent of victims of Medical Identity Theft that participated in a study by the Ponemon Institute said that their identity theft was perpetrated by a relative or someone else they knew. Twenty-four percent said they had a situation like Bogle’s, where a relative stole their identity without their knowledge or consent. Surprisingly, an additional 23 percent of respondents said they willingly shared their credentials with someone they knew. 

It’s “Friendly Fraud.”

Of those who said they shared healthcare credentials that way, 91 percent reported that
it was because the other person had no health insurance.

86 percent said it was because the other person couldn’t afford medical treatment.

Sixty-five percent said it was done in an emergency.

Unlike financial identity theft, there’s no straightforward process for challenging false medical claims or correcting inaccurate medical records.

If a thug steals your wallet and runs up your credit cards with expenditures, there are systems in place to keep it simple.

You need to request that the three major credit bureaus provide you a free credit report, place a fraud alert on your accounts, and work with your creditors to get inaccurate charges removed.

Identity theft is often discovered early on the financial side because credit card issuers have sophisticated systems for detecting fraud. Also, nearly all financial institutions use one or more of the three credit reporting agencies. There’s a centralized data base so it’s easier to track for fraud.

With medical identity theft, it’s not that simple. Your medical records are likely to be interspersed among a number of different providers, and there’s no merged or even single “medical records clearinghouse” that keeps them. You probably don’t have a complete copy of all your medical records. You can get a copy, but you may have to pay for it. When there’s an error on your record, you can add a correction, but you can’t delete any of it. 

Ironically, if you suspect that you are a victim of Medical Identity Theft, you may not be granted access to your own records. Once they are intermingled with another patient’s records, that person’s privacy must be protected under HIPAA.

Ponemon Institute found that it took an average of more than three months for victims to even detect the fraud and more than 200 hours to undo the mess.

65 percent of the medical identity theft victims surveyed by Ponemon said they spent an average of $13,500 to pay the healthcare bills run up in their name, to recover their health insurance, and to pay lawyer’s fees, among other things.

Prevention Is Easier:

  1. Read the Explanation of Benefits, or EOB, statement that your insurance provider sends you after you’ve received covered treatment. Confirm that the information about the date of service, type of service provided, and the provider are all correct.
  2. Request a complete list of payments made from your health insurance company on an annual basis. Review it.
  3. Be Aware when you are at the doctor’s office or pharmacy.
  4. Just like when you are using a credit card, pay attention to who’s nearby when you’re giving the staff your insurance card.

  5. Don’t leave your medical insurance card sitting around  for others to see.
  6. Shred documents associated with your health insurance, especially those containing your account number and personal information.
  7. Periodically, check for discrepancies with the Medical Information Bureau (MIB).  The MIB is like a “credit bureau” for health-related personal information. It has a comprehensive list of insurance companies that belong to it. Any time an individual applies for life or health insurance, this information is probably reported to the MIB.
  8. Get a current copy of your medical records. Most Doctor’s offices will be able to easily provide records for the last couple of years. For a full file, you may need to pay. Keep them in case they are tampered with in the future.
  9. Exercise your right for a free annual copy of your credit report.  Most Medical Identity Theft is noticed when the claim makes the transition to the billing department. If you have an unpaid medical bill on your credit report that you don’t recognize, you’ve probably a victim of Medical Identity Theft.
  1. Don’t post news of an upcoming surgery on Facebook or other social media outlets.

  2.  A good rule of thumb for social media in general is, if you’re not comfortable having the information plastered on a billboard, don’t put in out there on the World Wide Web.

The more interaction you have with the healthcare system, the more vigilant you ought to be. Some people are more susceptible to Medical Identity Theft than others. People on Medicare, whose Social Security number is on their medical card, are a gateway to all kinds of fraud. Older people are more susceptible to scams because they tend to give away personal health information  indiscriminately. Children’s health records are very attractive to Medical Identity Fraudsters, because a child is not likely to be checking their credit report for a while, so unpaid medical debts can go unnoticed for longer. New mothers, surgery patients, and people with chronic conditions like diabetes – or serious illnesses, like cancer, are also vulnerable, because they interact with the system a lot. The more interaction you have with the healthcare system, the more opportunity there is for records to be breached. Last but not least, millenials and anyone who casually posts a lot of personal information online. Medical Identity Fraudsters are very good at collecting information from social media or other apps and putting it together with other data they have on you, like an address or date of birth.

What to Do If You Are a Victim of Medical Identity Theft:

  1. File a police report.  Send a copy of the report to your insurer, medical providers and all credit bureaus.
  2. Call your insurance company.  You will be put in contact with the fraud department. They’ll disable your health insurance account, give you a new account and card, and assist you with the process of dealing with any billing, collections or records issues.
  3. Request access to your medical records.  If you even suspect you’re a victim of Medical Identity Theft, get a copy of your records from your doctor, hospital, pharmacy or laboratory. Correct errors immediately.
  4. Contact the three major credit bureaus, your bank or financial institutions, and your credit card issuers.  Inform them that your medical identity has been stolen. Place a fraud alert and freeze your credit so the scam doesn’t complicate your credit score any further.
  5. File a medical identify theft complaint.  File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call the FTC’s toll free hotline at (877) IDTHEFT.
  6. If you are refused access to your medical records, appeal.  To appeal, follow the steps outlined in your medical provider’s notice of privacy practices. If you still aren’t satisfied, file a health-privacy complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or call 1-800-368-1019.

The effects of Medical Identity Theft are far-reaching, costing the victims time, money and aggravation. Awareness is growing by the day. In terms of prevention and support, there is more work to be done to safeguard healthcare consumers from Medical Identity Theft. Experts are working on new ways to prevent it. They are using software that prevents fraud in billing and training staff and consumers to notice warning signs and ask for photo IDs.

There will be more extensive verification screening in the future, like the use of fingerprints.

Hopefully, in the future, we will see a decline in the occurence of Medical Identity Theft with minimal inconvenience to Doctors, patients, and insurance companies.

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We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

Medical Waste Products 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

blood pressure meter

Product Recall: Valsartan

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA today confirmed a voluntary recall to the consumer / user level of 29 lots of single and 51 lots of combination valsartan medicines .

The products subject to recall  are packed in bottles. These lots were distributed Nationwide to Teva’s Direct Accounts (Wholesale/Distributor/Retail/Repackagers/VA Pharmacy, et. al).

These were distributed under the Actavis label in the U.S. They are being recalled due to the detection of trace amounts of an unexpected impurity found in an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) that was manufactured by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical.

Teva is not the only company to recall Valsartan. Major Pharmaceuticals, and Solco Healthcare are also recalling Valsartan/ Hydrochlorothiazide due to the same impurity detected.

The FDA action came after 22 other countries issued recalls involving 2,300 valsartan batches sent to Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, Poland, Croatia, Lithuania, Greece, Canada, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bahrain and Malta.

What Is Valsartan?

Valsartan is used for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and for the treatment of heart failure. It is also indicated as a treatment for left ventricular failure and left ventricular dysfunction following myocardial infarction. In combination with hydrochlorothiazide, it is used in the treatment of hypertension.

Why Is It Being Recalled?

The impurity detected in the API is N- nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is a substance that occurs naturally in certain foods, drinking water, air pollution,  and industrial processes. It can be used to make liquid rocket fuel, softeners and lubricants, among other products. It can also be unintentionally produced through certain chemical reactions and is a byproduct from some pesticide manufacturing, the making of rubber tires or fish processing.a

N- nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) has been classified as a probable human carcinogen as per International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification.

The toxin affects the liver and causes liver fibrosis or scarring and liver tumors in rats.Exposure to high levels of NDMA may cause liver damage in humans, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

To date, TEVA has not received any reports of adverse events related to this recall.

What Should You Do?

Don’t stop taking your blood pressure meds!!

First of all, not all medicines containing valsartan are involved in the recall.

Check the FDA recall site or call your pharmacy to find out if the bottle you have is from a contaminated lot before taking further action.

Valsartan alternatives are available.

Patients should contact their pharmacist or physician who can advise them about an alternative treatment prior to returning their medication. Patients who are on valsartan should continue taking their medication, as the risk of harm to a patient’s health may be higher if the treatment is stopped immediately without any alternative treatment.

Questions, concerns, adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to Teva directly at 888- 838-2872 or to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.

_________

We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

Medical Waste Products 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

 

 

e-cigarette, vaping

The Scoop on E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that  look like a real cigarette: kind of pen-shaped. Some look a bit different- those with refillable tanks, for example .

There are nearly 500 brands of e-cigarettes on the market, in more than 7,000 flavors.

All brands have the same basic mechanism:

  • They have containers filled with liquid, ingredients vary with the brand or type.
  • A heating device turns the liquid into vapor that you inhale when you take a drag.

Using an e-cigarette is  called “vaping.”

Are They Safe?

The FDA was given the power to regulate the manufacturing, labeling, distribution and marketing of all tobacco products in 2009 when President Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and in 2010 a court ruled that the FDA could regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

It wasn’t until 2016 that the FDA finally announced a rule to regulate e-cigarettes. Under the final rule, the FDA plans to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.  The rule also requires all makers of e-cigarettes sold after February 15, 2007 to go through a “premarket review.” This is the process that the FDA uses to determine whether potentially risky products are safe. However, companies are allowed to have anywhere from 18 months to two years to prepare their applications. And it will take another year for the FDA to actually approve these applications. So don’t expect e-cigarettes currently on the market to be officially allowed to be sold by the FDA for another couple of years.

The popularity of electronic cigarettes  has outpaced available scientific data.

Research is still preliminary and answers may vary slightly. Overall, here are some points all experts agree on.

E-cigarettes are not safe, regardless of how they are marketed to appear to the public. Yes, they may be safer than conventional cigarettes, but they are not safe on their own merit.

The e-cig works by heating a liquid to generate an aerosol (we call it “vapor”) that is inhaled by the user. The e-liquid in the cigarette (or “e-juice”) is commonly made of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerine and flavorings.

E-cigarette users who use e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are exposed to its potentially harmful effects. Nicotine is associated with cardiovascular disease, potential birth defects, and poisoning, among other deleterious effects.

Normal usage of e-cigarettes generates low levels of formaldehyde.

Degraded products will produce very high levels of formaldehyde in the vapor. Most users will detect the degradation and avoid using the degraded product, but there is still a slight risk.

Formaldehyde is a well-known carcinogen. Exact measurements have not been established. Too much formaldehyde inhalation will cause respiratory symptoms like itchy nose and throat, coughing, and nosebleeds. It may be implicated in respiratory diseases like asthma. A little exposure once in a while will usually fade, but continuous exposure to high levels of formaldehyde might increase the chance of getting cancer even at levels too low to cause noticeable symptoms. 

Metal parts of e-cigarettes in contact with the e-liquid can contaminate it with heavy metal toxins. 

One of the flavors used in e-cigs is diacetyl, a harmful chemical which causes a lung disease known as ‘popcorn lung’, among other harmful effects.

No long-term data is available on the overall effects of e-cigs on the lungs. In particular, the effects in people with respiratory diseases are still unknown. “No long term data” does not equal, “Safe to Inhale!” It merely states that there is no current information.

According to a study by VA San Diego Healthcare System and UC San Diego researchers, human cells exposed to the e-cigarette vapor showed several forms of damage, including DNA strand breaks. When the  DNA is harmed and the cellular repair process doesn’t work right, it raises the risk of cancer. The affected cells were also more likely to launch into apoptosis and necrosis, which lead to cell death. The team used normal epithelial cells, which line organs, glands, and cavities throughout the body, including the mouth and lungs.

The San Diego team found that the nicotine versions caused worse damage, but even the nicotine-free vapor was enough to damage cells. Nicotine free e-cigarettes caused 50 per cent more DNA breaks, while those containing nicotine raised the damage margin three fold.

They were able to identify that e-cigarettes on the whole have something to do with increased cell death but not necessarily the individual components that are contributing to the effect.

There is limited information available on the environmental issues around production, use, and disposal of e-cigarette cartridges. A 2014 review recommended that e-cigarettes should be regulated for consumer safety.

There is a concern that some of the mainstream vapor exhaled by e-cigarette users can be inhaled by bystanders, particularly indoors.

The liquid used in e-cigarettes is highly concentrated, so absorbing it through the skin or swallowing it is far more likely to require an emergency room visit than eating or swallowing regular cigarettes.

In 2012, less than 50 kids under the age of six were reported to poison control hotlines per month because of e-cigarettes. In 2015, that number rose to about 200 children a month, nearly half of which were under the age of two.

Is Vaping Better Than Smoking?’

E-cigarettes aren’t thought of as 100% safe, but most experts think they’re less dangerous than cigarettes, says Neal Benowitz, MD, a nicotine researcher at the University of California at San Francisco.

Tobacco smoke contains 100 known carcinogens, and 900 potentially cancer causing chemicals, none of which has been found in more than trace quantities in e-cigarette vapor.

Those present are mostly below 1% of the corresponding levels in tobacco smoke   Another review found that compared with cigarettes, e-cigarettes are likely to be much less, if at all, harmful to users or bystanders.

The e-cigarette aerosol can contain toxicants and traces of heavy metals at levels permissible in inhalation medicines, and potentially harmful chemicals not found in tobacco smoke- at concentrations permissible by workplace safety standards.

When vaping, there is no ash, tar, carbon and carbon monoxide entering inhaler’s lungs. However, chemical concentrations may exceed the stricter public safety limits. There is considerable variation between vaporizers in terms of quality of their liquid ingredients and thus the contents of the vapor.

A study funded by Cancer Research UK showed that when smokers switched completely to e-cigarettes, bodily level exposure to established and important smoking-related carcinogens and toxicants was reduced by between 56 percent to 97 percent.

 E-cigarettes are a safer alternative to smoking tobacco in the context of developing smoking-related cancer.

(Dual smokers and vapers, who vape where smoking is prohibited but smoke regular cigarettes as well, saw very different results. Vaping and smoking did not lower the level of toxins in the body and also had too many variables to produce entirely accurate study results.)

Dr. Lion Shahab reported that according to the study, smokers who switched entirely to e-cigarettes cut their intake of toxins and carcinogens. Levels of nicotine — the addictive ingredient in cigarettes — remained constant, but their intake of cancer-causing chemicals fell to levels found in people using nicotine-replacement therapies. E-cigs reduced toxin intake at a level comparable to those who quit smoking by using nicotine replacements like the patch, gum or lozenges.

Proffessor Kevin Fenton, National Director Health & Wellbeing at PHE, agrees: “Public Health England has always been clear that e-cigarettes are not 100 per cent safe, but our major world leading review, published recently, found that e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of smoking.”

“Electronic cigarettes are a much safer alternative source of nicotine for smokers than cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean they are risk free and we would discourage anyone who’s not a smoker from using them,” says Kenneth Warner, a tobacco policy researcher at the University of Michigan. “The worst critics of e-cigarettes would probably argue they’re a half to two-thirds less dangerous. But from a practical view, they’re probably on the order of 80% to 85% less dangerous, at least.”

Can They Help Me Quit Smoking?

“We don’t have the definitive study on that,” Warner says. “My reading of the evidence is that it is quite convincing that e-cigarettes are helping some people quit smoking.”

The American Heart Association says e-cigarettes should only be used as a last resort way to quit.

There is research that supports the idea that e-cigarettes can reduce smoking urges and help motivated smokers quit.

Last year, two out of three smokers who combined e-cigarettes with expert support from a local service quit successfully.

E-cigs have been shown to be as effective as nicotine inhalers in reducing both craving and withdrawals effects. Another study found that e-cigs may be comparable, but not more effective, than other methods for smoking cessation, like nicotine patches and even placebo e-cigs.

Whether e-cigs can safely help people quit smoking remains to be seen. 

“We don’t know what is in e-cigarette vapor because the devices haven’t yet been fully regulated by the FDA,” says Norman H. Edelman MD, of the American Lung Association. “If you want to stop smoking, you may as well use an FDA-approved nicotine replacement, such as the patch or the lozenge. You can have more confidence because it’s been analyzed by the FDA, while e-cigarettes haven’t been analyzed by the FDA.”

Since e-cig manufacturers have not submitted an application to the FDA for their use in smoking cessation, e-cigs are not currently FDA-approved for such use

According to the FDA, there’s no evidence any e-cigarette is safe and effective at helping smokers quit.

The best thing a smoker can do is quit completely now and forever. The best way to succeed is to get help from your local stop smoking service. Smokers who have struggled to quit in the past could try vaping, and vapers should stop smoking.

Talk to your doctor about medications and other strategies that are proven stop-smoking tools. And if you need help quitting or reducing the number of cigarettes you are smoking, check out the smokefree.gov website.

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We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

Medical Waste Products 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

Aetna Inc. Insurance

Aetna Inc. is an American Managed Health Care Company that offers traditional health care plans and consumer-directed health care insurance plans.Aetna Inc. Insurance also offers services for health care management, workers’ compensation administration and health information technology.

Types of Plans:

The health insurance plans offered by Aetna, Inc. include medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans.

Aetna has a contract with Medicare, and they offer Medicare and Medicaid health insurance plans. Enrollment in these plans depends on contract renewal. They offer a Medicare plan, Plans through an employer, Medicaid plans, Student Health Plans, and International Plans.

When you sign up for a Medicare plan on Aetna’s website, you can request an agent to come to your house to meet with you and discuss which plan would work best for your needs.

Finding Health Care Providers:

Aetna’s directory is a great resource for finding doctors and hospitals that take Aetna’s insurance. The directory includes more than 25 types of health care providers, like urgent care centers, dialysis centers, vision care providers, flu shot providers, physical therapistes, hospice care providers, drug and alchohol counseling, marriage counselors, and acutpuncturists.

Legal Notice: The providers listed are independent contractors. They are not agents of Aetna, and therefore their participation in Aetna Insurance plans can change without notice, although Aetna will do their best to provide notice in advance.

Aetna does not guarantee access to health care services.

See Evidence of Coverage for a more detailed description of your plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability varies, depending on the service area.

Contact Aetna.

Support Network:

Aetna, Inc. is passionate about giving patients  many resources to enable them to be more proactive about their own health.

Their motto is: “Health Care Can Be Simpler.” With available infromation and support programs, the patient’s journey towards better health will be easier and simpler.

Depending on availbility in your locale or the plan you choose, Aetna, Inc. has incredible resources and programs that they partner with. Some examples of Support Programs are as follows:

Ask a Nurse program

When you have an unexpected health question, call Aetna’s Ask-a-Nurse Program. Medical Professionals will be available by phone or by email 24 hours a day.

Registered Nurses can help you understand medical procedures and available treatment options, and give you tips for talking to your Doctor. They can answer questions about medication and alert you to possible side effects. They can help you avoid a trip to the Health Care Provider’s office or the hospital with the information at their disposal.

Coaching Programs:

Sometimes you need support from others when you need to make big changes. Aetna offers Healthy Lifestyle Coaching Programs that include one-on-one coaching, group coaching, and a bunch of online communities to provide some support.

Coaching works!  Success stories.

AbleTo, Inc.

After an illness or health issue, the stress and sadness can take its toll and patients will need help with recovery. Aetna is working with AbleTo, Inc., to help make recovery as smooth as possible.

Start living your healthiest life.

How you feel affects how you heal. AbleTo, Inc., provides a behavioral therapist and coach for you to talk to twice a week for eight weeks by phone or video. The treatment goal will be to help you feel like yourself again. Some of the skills you will cover are:

*Managing Stress

*Improving your mood and outlook for the future

* Engaging more fully in meaningful activities

*Maximizing physical recovery after a medical event

*Transitioning back to work after a leave of absence

*Improving communication with family and health care professionals

*Overcoming barriers to change

*Setting specific, realistic goals

*Setting boundaries

*Improving time management

For more information, call AbleTo at 855-773-2354, or Visit the AbleTo website.

Aetna Depression Management:

Depression affects your thoughts, feelings, physical health, relationships and job. It is a serious illness, affecting more than 15 million adults in America.

The good news is, most people feel better within a few weeks of accessing the right treatment.

Aetna has teamed up with Doctors all over the country to make it easier to get diagnosed quickly. They also offer an Online Risk Assessment tool- it’s free and confidential, and helps you gauge the risk and the likelihood of your having depression.

They also teamed up to cover an Employee Assistance Programs to help with various mental health issues, utilizing telephone counseling and online resources to help employees with mental health issues keep their heads on the job.

Research:

Aetna, Inc. has been conducting studies to tackle antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Aetna’s outreach to tackle antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Get a quote:

Our numbers add up to savings and quality.

Get a Quote for an Aetna, Inc. Health Insurance Plan.

Bad Reviews:

Aetna consistently gets negative reviews on online forums for flaws in their customer service and for coverage limits. Many health insurance plans that team up with Medicaid or Medicare have the same flaws in their systems.

An objective survey concluded that Aetna, Inc. has some of the least expensive health insurance plans, and even though they do not provide short-term coverage, Aetna, Inc. is still a solid health plan worth considering.

_____

We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

MedWaste’s Product Store 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

 

 

 

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is the largest managed care organization in the United States. It is  made up of three distinct but interdependent groups of entities: the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (KFHP) and its regional operating subsidiaries; Kaiser Foundation Hospitals; and the regional Permanente Medical Groups.

As of 2017, Kaiser Permanente operates in eight states (Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia) and the District of Columbia.

Why Kaiser Permanente?

Kaiser Permanente is a managed care oganization, in which patients agree to visit only certain doctors and hospitals, and in which the cost of treatment is monitored by a managing company.

Each entity of Kaiser Permanente has its own management and governance structure, although all of the structures are interdependent and cooperative to a great extent.

Kaiser Permanente’s insurance plans are more than just insurance plans. They are an entry into the Kaiser Permanente network. You can get more personalized care from top-notch doctors and specialists without being sent to their various offices and re-doing all the paperwork at each location. The coordinated care teams work with you so Doctors and specialists can talk to each other, which speeds up care and keeps everyone on the same page. It’s easier to lay back and worry about getting better when an entire team has your back. 

Total health takes teamwork.

Kaiser Permanente also offers digital tools that help manage your health.

All this under one roof.

Kaiser Permanente’s performance has been attributed to three practices:

1) Kaiser Permanente puts a strong emphasis on preventive care, which reduces costs later on.

Doctors are paid a salary rather than paid per service.

2)This removes the incentive for Doctors to order or perform unnecessary procedures. It also lets them take the time to really get involved with their patient’s needs. This results in more focused care, reducing secondary health issues and lowering  overall cost.

3) Kaiser Permanente tries to minimize the time patients spend in hospitals by carefully planning their stay and by shifting care to outpatient clinics. This practice results in lower costs per member, reduced cost for Kaiser Permanente, and more Doctor attention to patients.

As of October 2017, Kaiser Permanente had 11.7 million health plan members, 208,975 employees, 21,275 physicians, 54,072 nurses, 39 medical centers, and 720 medical facilities.

 As of December 31, 2016, the non-profit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals entities reported a combined $3.1 billion in net income on $64.6 billion in operating revenues.

Locations:

As of 2017, Kaiser Permanente operates in eight states: Southern California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Oregon/Washington, the Mid-Atlantic Statesand the District of ColumbiaCare centers are easy to locate on the Kaiser Permanente website.

Plans:

Choose the type of plan that’s right for you, your family, or your employees. You can compare the different plans offered by Kaiser Permanente.

If you would like to be seen by a specific Doctor, or check if a specific Doctor is part of the Kaiser Permanente network, you can find a Doctor on the Kaiser Permanente’s website.

Research and publishing:

Kaiser Permanente also operates a Division of Research, which annually conducts between 200 and 300 studies, and the Center for Health Research which in 2009 had more than 300 active studies. The studies are primarily funded by federal, state, and other outside (non-Kaiser) institutions. Many of the studies reflect the bias that Kaiser Permanente has for preventive medicine. Vaccine and genetic studies are prominent.

Health isn’t an industry. It’s a cause.

Kaiser Permanente was founded on the radically simple idea that everyone deserves the chance to live a healthy life. That’s why you can find high-quality care and coverage in one place.

___________

We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

Medical Waste Products 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

 

 

 

 

needles and medicines at the home

How do I dispose of home generated medical waste?

Click here for a list of FREE approved locations to drop off home medical waste at, in California.

How do I dispose of home-generated medical waste?

Package It: Make sure to package your home sharps waste and needles in approved travel sized or medium sized or large sharps containers. This will allow the waste to be safely handled and transported for disposal . If you don’t yet have a sharps container, try packaging your sharps waste in a heavy duty plastic container, such as a laundry detergent bottle, for the meanwhile. Medicine waste can be packaged in a rigid container. Any printed information about the medicine or prescribed patient, should be erased or covered. 

Dispose Of It: Bring your home generated medical waste to your local California State approved collection site for free and proper disposal.  Remember, all sharps waste must be properly packaged.   For medicine waste, check which of the collection sites on the list indicate that they also accept medicines for disposal.

The not free free option: If you need a professional company to come collect and dispose of your medical waste, contact MedWaste Management at (866) 254-5105. We collect and dispose of all types of medical waste, from all types of facilities in California, such as healthcare facilities, schools, homes and businesses. Since this disposal option is not free, it is recommended for the disposal of large quantities of home generated medical waste, or anyone who wants to pay for this convenience.

What is home-generated medical waste? 

In Septemebr 2008, it became illegal in California to place your home-generated sharps waste in the regular trash container, or to flush it down the toilet.

  • Sharps Waste – Home-generated sharps waste means hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medications derived from a household, including a multifamily residence or household. See California’s Medical Waste Management Act section 117671.
  • Medicine Waste – Home-generated medicine waste means expired or unused medicines, whether prescription or over the counter.

Browse For Local California County Info:

Alameda County:

Alameda County – Find information about how to properly dispose of home generated sharps and medicine waste in Alameda County, CA.

Alameda County Medication Drop Off Sites – Find the 41 locations, where Alameda County residents can drop off unwanted prescription and Over-the-Counter drugs and medications, including controlled substances.

Alameda County Public Health Dept. –  Find information about how to properly dispose of home generated sharps waste in Alameda County, CA.

CityofLivermore.net  Find information about how to properly dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Livermore, CA.

StopWaste.org – Find out where to dispose of of sharps waste and medicine waste in the cities of Fremont, Hayward, Livermore and Oakland, in Alameda County, CA.

Alpine County:

Amador County:

Butte County:

Butte County –  Find information about how to properly dispose of home generated sharps waste in Butte County, CA.

CityofOroville.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Oroville, CA.

Calaveras County:

Colusa County:

Countyof Colusa.org – Learn and see a video about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Orange County, CA.

Contra Costa County:

ContraCostacountyhealth.org – Learn more about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Orange County, CA.

DeltaDiablo.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Delta Diablo District, in East Contra Costa County, CA.

PleasantHill.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Pleasant Hill, CA.

Del Norte County:

El Dorado County:

ElDoradoCountygov.us – Learn more about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in El Dorado County, CA.

Fresno County:

Glenn County:

Humboldt County:

Imperial County:

Inyo County:

Kern County:

KernCountywaste.com – Learn about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Kern County, CA.

Kings County:

Lake County:

Lassen County:

Los Angeles County:

Azusa.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Azusa, CA.

AgouraHills.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Agoura Hills, CA.

Calrecycle.ca.gov – Find locations throughout California that will accept a variety of special wastes.

Calrecycle.ca.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in California.

CityofBell.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Bell, CA.

Lakewoodcity.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Lakewood, CA.

dpwLAcounty.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Los Angeles County, CA.

MontereyPark.ca.govLearn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Monterey Park, CA.

Madera County:

Marin County:

MarinCounty.org  – Learn more about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Marin County, CA.

Mariposa County:

Mendocino County:

Merced County:

Modoc County:

Mono County:

Monterey County:

Napa County:

CountyofNapa.org – Learn about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Napa County, CA.

Nevada County:

KeepTruckeeGreena.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Truckee, CA.

Orange County:

FountainValley.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medicine waste in the city of Fountain Valley, CA.

LaHabracity.org – Learn about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of La Habra, CA.

Orangecounty.com – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Orange County, CA.

Orangecountyhealth.com – Learn more about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Orange County, CA.

RanchoSantaMargarita.org – Learn about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.

SanJuanCapistrano.org – Learn about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of San Juan Capistrano, CA.

Placer County:

RecyclinginLincoln.com – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Lincoln, CA.

Plumas County:

CountyofPlumas –  Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste waste in Plumas County, CA.

Riverside County:

Coronaca.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Corona, CA.

Riversidecounty.org –  Find information about how to properly dispose of home generated sharps waste in Riverside County, CA.

CityofCommerce.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Commerce, CA.

Temeculaca.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Temecula, CA.

Sacramento County:

CityofSacramento.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated hazardous waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Sacramento, CA.

San Benito County:

San Bernardino County:

Adelentoca.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Adelento, CA.

AppleValley.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the town of Apple Valley, CA.

CityofChino.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Chino, CA.

CityofCommerce.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Commerce, CA.

Fontana.org –  Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Fontana, CA.

SanBernardinoCounty.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medication waste in Los Angeles County, CA.

Victorville.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Los Angeles County, CA.

San Diego County:

Oceanside.ca.us – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Oceanside, CA.

Poway.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medication waste in the city of Poway, CA.

CityofSanteeca.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Santee, CA.

San Joaquin County:

Stocktongov.com – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medicine waste in the city of Stockton, CA.

San Luis Obispo County:

SanLuisObispoCountyiwma.com – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in San Luis Obispo County, CA.

Santa Clara County:

MountainView.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medicine waste in the city of Mountain View, CA.

San Diego County:

SanDiegocounty.gov – Learn how to dispose of home generated hazardous waste and pharmaceutical waste in San Diego County, CA.

San Francisco County:

San Joaquin County:

San Luis Obispo County:

San Mateo:

SanMateoCountyhealth.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in San Mateo County, CA.

Santa Barbara County:

CountyofSantaBarbara.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Santa Barbara County, CA.

Santa Clara County:

SantaClara.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medicine waste in Santa Clara County, CA.

SantaClaraFireDept.org – Learn more about how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and medicine waste in Santa Clara County, CA.

Santa Cruz County:

Shasta County:

Sierra County:

Siskiyou County:

Solano County:

Sonoma County:

RecycleNow.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Sonoma County, CA.

Stanislaus County:

Stanislauscounty.com – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Stanislaus County, CA.

Sutter County:

YubaSutterRecycles.com –  Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in Sutter County, CA.

Tehama County:

Trinity County:

Tulare County:

Visalia.city – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in the city of Visalia, CA.

Tuolumne County:

Ventura County:

Simivalley.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Simi Valley, CA.

VenturaCountyrma.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Ventura County, CA.

VenturaCountypublicworks.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated pharmaceutical waste in Ventura County, CA.

Yolo County:

CityofDavis.org – Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste in the city of Davis, CA.

Yolocounty.org –  Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste in Sonoma County, CA.

Yuba County:

YubaSutterRecycles.com –  Learn how to dispose of home generated sharps waste and pharmaceutical in Yuba County, CA.

How can I accept home-generated medical waste at my health care facility or business?

If you have a medical facility or business that generated medical waste, and you already properly dispose of your medical waste, you can easily start accepting home-generated medical waste from your patients and community.

Just make sure of the following:

  • The sharps must be contained in an approved sharps container.
  • The generator of the home-generated sharps waste, or a member of his or her family, must bring the sharps waste to your facility.
  • The sharps waste is accepted at a central location at your facility.
  • You must properly dispose of the home-generated medical waste that you accept, just as your properly dispose of your facility’s medical waste.
  •  A reference to, and a description of, the above actions are
    included in your facility’s medical waste management plan.

See California’s Medical Waste Management Act Section 118147.

We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

Medical Waste Products 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

 

Quest Diagnostics Labs

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is an American clinical laboratory founded in 1967. They became an independent corporation in 1996. Quest Diagnostics operates in United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and has a lab in India. Quest Diagnostics also consult and collaborate with hospitals and clinics globally to interpret unusual lab results and develop testing that is  more efficient and specific.

Locations

Quest Diagnostics have more than 2,200 Patient Service Centers nationwide. Find a Quest Diagnostics Location.

Appointments:

You can Make an Appointment  online or call the automated system:  (888)277-8772.

Quest Diagnostics does take walk-ins, but keep in mind that walk-ins will usually need to spend some time waiting. Scheduling is recommended; besides for keeping your in-and-out time more predictable, it also gives you the option of getting pre-appointment emails with useful information and reminders about the specific test you will be getting.

If you still need to walk in, keep in mind that Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Centers are usually busiest in the early morning. You may want to avoid arriving before nine thirty.

Payment and Billing:

Quest Diagnostics is accepted by most health insurance providers. They accept most major credit cards, debit cards, and health savings account cards. They offer paperless billing, online bill paying, and payment options like Easy Pay™. They also offer Payment Assistance, for patients who qualify.

Services:

Quest offers more than 3,500 kinds of lab tests and screenings. Some of the tests are common (screening for diabetes) and some are hard to find anywhere else.

Quest Diagnostics collect enough specimen for thorough testing. They follow the highest standards for testing in the industry.

Fast results. Quest employs  3,500 drivers and pilots deliver specimens to Quest Diagnostics laboratories as fast as possible.

Easy Access. Patients can access lab results digitally through MyQuest™, another cool service offered by Quest Diagnostics.

Physician Assistance. Services are not only for patients! Quest Diagnostics also offers a host of information and services for physicians. They have 650 Specialists, including MDs and PhDs, to help doctors interpret lab results and develop a plan of action. They also offer cutting-edge testing, which they continually research and develop.

Esoteric Test Options. Quest Diagnostics offers highly specialized tests that most normal labs don’t perform. They have more than 1,500 Esoteric Test Options,  utilizing cutting-edge technologies. These include  innovative applications of gene sequencing, bioinformatics, mass spectrometry, digital pathology and  proteomics to  meet the diagnostic needs of a wider variety of patients.

From personal experience and from reading many customer reviews, I feel like I can vouch for the quality of service at Quest Diagnostics.

Their technicians are both skilled and compassionate and they really know their medical waste management protocols.

I check for Waste Containers and chat with the technicians when I need to get a test done. I walk out relieved because it wasn’t an ordeal, (maybe even a relatively pleasant experience), and impressed with their knowledge of lab protocol.

Before you go:

*Parking differs from location to location. Double check the information to make sure it applies to the location you will be visiting.

*Bring the following to your appointment:

 The lab order from your doctor. Doctors usually send the lab order electronically and you may not even have received a backup copy. If this is the case, call ahead to check if the order was sent and/or received by the Quest Diagnostics lab.

 – Photo identification

 – Current health insurance information

It’s important to also know if your test requires fasting the day before and/or morning of your appointment. Your healthcare provider should have indicated this on your lab order or during your visit. If you are not sure, call to check with your provider.

_________

We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

Medical Waste Products 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

 

Medical Waste Disposal for Dental Offices

Medical Waste Disposal for Dental Offices

Knowledge and Standards in Operations are Critical for Controlling Medical Waste Disposal in a Dental Office

Dental care generates its own waste products, most of which can be disposed of as a part of your office trash removal program. Some products however cannot simply be thrown in the trash, and require specialized systems for their disposal. If you and your dental office employees are not aware of these items and proper methods for disposal, you are creating a health risk in your office.

There are two types of medical waste generated inside of a dental office; regulated medical waste and hazardous chemical waste. They both need to have their own system of labeling and disposal in order to meet OSHA and state safe handling guidelines. Failure to do so could result in fines for your dental office as well as the potential health risks to you, your staff and your patients.

Hazardous Waste in a Dental Office

There are a number of products being used in a typical dental office that are designated as hazardous waste. This includes:

  • The chemicals used to process X-rays
  • X-ray film
  • Acid etch
  • Disinfectants
  • Some Adhesives
  • Monomers
  • Lead foil, and
  • Amalgam

Amalgam is the most well known hazardous waste associated with dental offices. Since it does contain mercury its disposal is highly regulated on the state and federal level.

Creating an Effective Medical Waste Disposal Strategy in a Dental Office

The management of hazardous and medical waste is a time and money taxing process. Flaws in your current system must first be identified before changes in policy can be made to correct them. Yet the alternative to creating an effective medical waste disposal plan could be expensive fines and loss of business, deeming it a necessity in your dental office.

Substitution of hazardous materials is a good place to start, as there are alternatives readily available. For example, if your current sanitizing solutions fall under the hazardous material category, you can replace it with one that is just as effective without being harmful. X-ray chemicals in your dental office can be eliminated by switching to a digital radiograph system.

Another solution is to recycle certain dental by-products rather than dispose of them. Old crowns, lead foil and dental amalgam can all be recycled inside a proper facility for use in other applications.

Medical waste disposal for dental offices includes sharps such as needles used to administer anesthesia, and gauze that has been contaminated by blood and other bodily fluids. These need to be separated from other dental office trash and managed by a professional medical waste disposal company. Gloves, bibs, and gauze that does release blood when compressed also need to be disposed of in a manner where there is no chance of accidental bare handed contact by office staff or cleaning specialists.

Your local regulatory agency is your best source of information for the specific requirements of your dental office. Dental practices will generate at least one type of waste in their daily practices, but having clearing defined its proper handling with all staff will ensure that you are meeting all the guidelines for managing its disposal.

Medical Waste Disposal for Clinics

Medical Waste Disposal for Clinics

Do Your Clinic Workers Know What Does Not Go In the Red Bag?

When discussing medical waste disposal for clinics, a lot of emphasis is put on the red bags, and what can go inside. These seem like the ideal solution for all the medical waste that a clinic generates daily, yet there are certain items that they should not hold. Make sure that your employees are just as knowledgeable about what stays out of the red bag as they are about what needs to go inside.

Sharps Waste

Clinic workers know that needles and syringes belong in their little red boxes after use, but can overlook other sharps. Sharps medical waste is defined as being any object that has been contaminated with a pathogen or that may become contaminated with a pathogen through handling. It is also capable of penetrating or cutting skin or packing material… like a red bag. In addition to needles, sharps can include broken glass, scalpels, slides, capillary tubes and broken plastic. All of these must first go inside of a rigid medical waste container before they can be placed inside of the red bag.

Pharmaceutical Drug Waste

Drugs that meet the criteria for being a hazardous waste need to be separated from your clinic’s red bag medical waste. The best practice is to have hazardous pharmaceuticals incinerated at a state approved medical waste disposal facility. Train your staff to learn which drugs are deemed hazardous and set aside separate bins for their disposal.

Universal Garbage

It is a waste of resources to allow for everyday garbage and recyclable materials to be carried out of a clinic in red bags. This includes food scraps, packaging material, light bulbs and paper. Initiate a recycling program for non-contaminated plastics, glass and metals, and dispose of the rest with your regular garbage pick up.

Chemotherapy Equipment

While trace chemotherapy waste may go into a red bag, it must be marked appropriately for incineration. Trace chemotherapy waste is defined as having less than 3% of the original contents by weight. Empty drug vials, syringes, IV bags and tubing used for chemotherapy will all need to be separately sorted and bagged inside the clinic.

Bulk Liquids

Small quantities of liquids in stoppered vials can be placed inside of red bags, but bulk fluids may not unless they have been properly solidified first. Even then, your clinic will have to verify that the liquid is viable for red bag waste disposal. Liquid medical waste of any type should always be secured in containers specially designed to reduce the risk of leakage.

A mistake made in some clinics is the assumption that the red bags are the catch all for all of your waste. This can be a dangerous practice as well as a waste of resources. School clinic employees thoroughly on the use of red bags to ensure that yours are being used properly, and in compliance with the state and federal regulations.

Medical Sharps Disposal and Management

Medical Sharps Disposal and Management

Selecting the Right Sharps Disposal Container For Your Facility

Accidental needle sticks are one of the biggest injury risks to workers in the medical profession. The proper disposal of sharps is meant to mitigate that risk, but only works when you have the right types of containers in the right places. Carefully evaluate your needs for sharps containers before hand to institute procedures that are effective at maintaining patient care while keeping staff members safe.

When choosing a sharps disposal system for your hospital, doctor’s office or other clinical setting, you should be looking at the following factors:

  • The layout of your facility
  • The specific procedures practiced in various rooms
  • Your protocols for patient care
  • The convenience of the attending medical staff
  • The comfort of the patients

Following the following guidelines set forth by NIOSH will assist you in finding the correct places for sharp containers in your facility; “Sharps disposal containers that are functional, accessible, secure from patient or visitor tampering (if necessary), visible, and convenient to use will decrease the risk of percutaneous sharps injury”.

Requirements for Sharps Containers in a Medical Setting

The OSHA regulations are clear when it comes to the design of sharps disposal containers. They must be closable containers made from a puncture proof material. They cannot allow for leaks from the bottom or sides and they should be labeled or color coded for easy identification. To protect patients and other non-medical personnel, these boxes must be locked and secured in place to prevent anyone from being able to access the contents inside.

In regards to their use, sharps containers must remain upright and be easily accessible in a location that a health care worker would anticipate. This could be on the wall behind a procedure table or secured to the table top. Sharps containers cannot be allowed to overfill, and must be replaced routinely with an empty one.

In settings where only one patient is seen inside of a room at a time, there is no need for more than one sharps disposal container. This changes in emergency type settings where you may need to place multiple containers strategically around the room for the convenience of your medical staff.

Put yourself in the shoes of the clinician, nurse, or physician that will be providing care to the patient to help in choosing the right location. For ideal safety and effective medical sharps disposal the container should be within arm’s reach after administering any medication or vaccination. Staff members should not have to move items out of the way to access the sharps container, or walk a long distance. The longer the used sharp is in their possession, the greater the risk of accident or harm.

Sharp containers come in various sizes to suit different needs. To optimize the placement of yours, consider asking for help from your medical waste disposal service provider. By evaluating your needs and assessing the layout of your institution, they can help you in the choosing the right types of boxes and locations for the safety of your patients.

Flu Season: Medical Waste Disposal at Home

FLU SEASON! Tips from your medical waste disposal expert.index

Some chiropractors look at people and “see” invisible lines going through their spines. Speech therapists hear little divergences in people’s accents. Barbers notice hairstyles. Teachers notice things that need fixing. I notice places with contamination potential.

Medical waste disposal is all about identifying which medical items can potentially spread pathogens, containing them, and destroying them. I’ve started, however, to notice contamination potential in everyday items as well. Doorknobs, for example. Computer keyboards. Cars with the windows shut and a passenger who’s a carrier…. Don’t ask.

So, here are some tips about handwashing, which has been proven effective at minimizing your potential of getting or giving out germs.

1. Wash your Hands.

I know you’ve heard this before. Keep in mind that if you are just not going to get into the habit of washing your hands regularly, it’s important to wash your hands after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, before and after handling food, after coming into contact with an animal, and probably after coming into contact with something that a LOT of other people come into contact with on a regular basis… like doorknobs.

2. Wash your Hands with Soap.

You need a minimum of 15 to 30 seconds scrubbing time with antibacterial soap to really remove bacteria from your hands. Don’t forget to scrub between your fingers and the area at the base of your palms. Bacteria gets there, too.

3. Dry your Hands.

Once the soap loosened all the bacteria, you need to make sure none of it sticks right back to your skin. The easiest way to transfer bacteria is with wet hands. So dry your hands.

4. Dry your Hands on a Paper Towel.

Air-drying devices can actually increase bacteria count, and also blow germs around in a three to six feet perimeter from the device. Paper towels remove the germs and then they get thrown out into the garbage can. This gives them less potential to infect somebody else with the germs on them.

5. Consider cleaning surfaces

Use products with anti-microbial and disinfectant properties to maximize cleanliness. The easy way to sterilize home surfaces is with wipes. Also, when you clean the floors, clean each area separately, using another microfiber cloth, to avoid cross-contamination. (Meaning, don’t wash the floor in your child’s bedroom, where he’s been hanging out with a bad cold, and then use the same mop on the dining room floor. You’ll be spreading the bedroom germs all over the dining room.)’

Also, you might consider carrying wipes around with you and using them on doorknobs and shopping cart handles, and the like…. places that many people have put their germs on.

6. If you or anyone in your household is ill, use a crude medical waste disposal bio-hazardous waste precaution and double-bag tissues in a separate garbage can. YOu can get a small container and keep it in the bedroom. In my experience, when someone has a bad cold or flu, the tissues tend to really accumulate.

This is your medical waste disposal expert, wishing you good health and happiness, much joy,success, peace and the absence of any sort of flu neurosis this season.

In a single year, an estimated 20 million people, globally, acquired HBV infections from unsafe MEDICAL injections.

blog post 8To me this is a rather scary number. The amount of people injured from unsafe injections and acquired HBV infections is 20 million, and that’s just the beginning. This calculation hasn’t factored in people getting pricked from used needles and other such outbreaks related to Bloodborne Pathogens and unsafe needle use and disposal.  In fact risks may go unreported; 35 hepatitis OUTBREAKS from healthcare settings were reported to the CDC from 2008 to 2012 and furthermore  one outbreak can affect THOUSANDS of people; 35 outbreaks resulted in the notification of more than 100,000 people who needed to be tested for hepatitis. Healthcare workers often do NOT report their sharps injuries; estimates of under-reporting are 22% to 99%.

Now some of these injuries and accident are possibly unavoidable, no matter how much laws, regulations and safeguards are in place accidents can always occur, however, everyone can do their part to help these number decrease, and the first step is knowing and being able to recognize and correct unsafe situations before an accident occurs. The key to this is the OSHA Training program, which is designed to explain and insure that you know everything necessary to stay safe and compliant.

Our OSHA Compliance program is a comprehensive, user friendly program that will train and certify you and your employees in OSHA compliance. In addition it provides step by step instructions and the ability to create a working safety plan, perform safety audits, search and save MSDS’s, ICD’s and more.

For more information visit our OSHA Training page