The simple answer is money. However, the question, why maintaining medical equipment relies on a CMMS, (Computerised Maintenance Management System) is too complex for just a one word answer.
CMS is the acronym for The Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the US, which is the agency responsible for establishing requisite conditions that hospitals must comply with in order to receive federal Medicare funding. Currently, the rules are fairly stringent and straightforward - Hospitals must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance on each individual piece of medical equipment as approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Reports began surfacing in July that CMS is proposing a change in the requirements for maintaining the equipment. Specifically, CMS would allow hospitals in the US to deviate from the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines. The proper maintenance of medical devices is a critical component of patient care and safety, as well as a standard security practice required in hospitals.
Many medical organisations support the current CMS guidelines, which were issued in 2011. These groups have been voicing their concerns to CMS about the potential dangers of the proposed changes.
In a letter to CMS in July, the president and advocacy committee chairwoman of the Society for Vascular Ultrasound wrote "The new standards will weaken the safety requirements that protect Medicare patients by allowing hospitals to forgo the manufacturer’s maintenance standards." Adding that "The correct use of properly maintained and serviced ultrasound equipment not only saves Medicare dollars, but also ensures appropriate health care and reduces the risks associated with other more expensive or invasive imaging modalities, which may present more significant morbidity and mortality risks."
More recently some Members of the House have gotten involved in the battle by reaching out to CMS, who has still declined to comment on the speculations about changes in requirements.
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa) said, "Weakening of equipment maintenance standards could have some severe consequences for health and safety." Murphy was one of five members of Congress who wrote to the CMS this week warning that the change "may put patients and healthcare personnel at unnecessary and avoidable risk."
Prior to issuing any official deregulation of the current maintenance requirements, Congressional Representatives basically requested that CMS go through a formal process to establish new rules, which should include a chance for public comments.
The necessity of having a CMMS system to ensure that medical organisations are adhering to the current and future rules is indisputable whether here in Australia or anywhere in the world. Numerous companies worldwide already utilise a CMMS, which is a cost-effective, proven asset management tool allowing medical facilities to streamline workflow processes to save thousands of dollars in unnecessary maintenance and operating expenses as well as ensuring they provide their core business, that is, attend to the health of our society.