Recently, there has been an increase in the number of survey deficiencies related to the ability to provide emergency services. Specifically, the regulation at 42 CFR 485.618(b), which is tag #C-0202 of the State Operations Manual, states, "Equipment, supplies and medications used in treating emergency cases are kept at the CAH and are readily available for treating emergency cases..."
The specific deficiencies are with those CAHs that routinely schedule outpatient procedures of various types in their emergency room(s). By tying up the emergency room and the equipment with an outpatient procedure, the CAH may fail to ensure the emergency room and all life-saving equipment, supplies and medications are available for all emergency patients. This is especially true if you are limited to only one bay in your emergency room.
According to survey teams, this practice of utilizing emergency rooms for outpatient procedures will result in a written deficiency to the facility. We recommend you review your current practices (especially if you are utilizing your emergency room(s) for dual purposes) to ensure equipment, supplies and medications used in treating emergency cases are always readily available.