Medical Waste Disposal

Are You Paying for Medical Waste Disposal Methods That Your Dental Office Doesn’t Need?

Like all health care providers, a dental office is obligated to manage their medical waste in compliance with local, state and federal laws. The regulations are very much alike, however there are certain distinctions that a dental provider should be aware of. Not only with the type of services you are providing, but with the size of your facility.

Your first step in regulated medical waste disposal for dental offices is the identification of the potential bio-hazardous waste you are generating. Once that has been separated from the common trash, you have to implement a plan for the safe disposal of contaminated sharps. Finally, the removal of medical waste has to be considered, for which you typically have three options:

  • Use a mail back medical waste disposal method
  • The use of a mail back sharp container system
  • Medical waste pick up from a licensed contractor

Mail back medical waste disposal strategies can work with a smaller dental practice, yet even then there are many flaws which could subject you to scrutiny and fines from various government agencies. The scope of your practice may produce various forms of biological and hazardous waste, all of which need to be segregated properly before shipment. On top of that is the issue of paperwork, and written proof that your medical waste was disposed of correctly in an approved facility.

Not only is this a risky practice for dental offices in terms of potential fines, it is a time consuming one. You must still train employees on the proper methods for the collection of medical waste, how to identify and segregate various forms, and then how to properly transport it out of the facility. Certain agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will want to verify that such training is taking place inside of your dental office.

The third option, working with a licensed medical waste disposal company, can cover all of your obligations and save you time. MedWaste Management is able to not only train dental office employees, we study their activities to find effective solutions for collecting medical waste right where it is being generated. This includes the use of sharp containers and bio-hazard bags in a way that does not disrupt your routine patient care.

Not only can working with a medical waste disposal company save you money in potential fines, they save you valuable time. Companies like MedWaste Management will provide you with all of the necessary paperwork to prove compliance, alleviating you of this burdensome task. Without this mountain of paperwork to contend with, you’ll have more time on your hands to tend to patients and ensure quality health care.

With medical waste disposal for dental offices, the cheapest option is not always the most cost effective. You need to look at the entire scope of what is involved with proper medical waste disposal in order to make an informed choice on what is best for your dental practice.

Medical Waste Disposal

Reducing the Impact of Hospital Medical Waste – One Red Bag at a Time

A study published this last June has shed light on an alarming statistic for hospitals. If the healthcare system of the United States were a country, it would rank 13th in the world for hazardous greenhouse gas emissions. Published in PLOS ONE, the study unveils the environmental and health impact of our country’s health care industry.

Previously, investigators had only looked at the amounts of energy used by medical facilities in the United States, estimating that they were contributing 8% of the country’s greenhouse gases. This number changes dramatically when you begin to factor in other variables, such as medical waste disposal inside of hospital.

While hospitals are meant to secure the health and safety of the population, the methods are at the same time having a negative effect on public health. Due to the sheer number of harmful materials being produced during the course of health care in the United States, it is estimated that the pollutants generated are responsible for 470,000 DALYs annually. DALY – disability adjusted life years – is the measurement of years lost due to health issues, disabilities and premature death.

That number is comparable to the number of lives lost each year due to preventable medical errors as reported by the Institute of Medicine in 1999. That report sparked outrage, and major reform for patient safety in health care facilities. As this is of similar magnitude, it is important that health care providers take note of it now, and begin initiating practices that help to reduce their carbon footprint.

Medical Waste Disposal and the Environment

The way in which you are disposing of your hospital’s medical waste can make a drastic impact on your contribution to greenhouse gases. The production and then destruction of disposable products, such as red bags, emit dangerous gases into the breathing air. To reduce this, some hospitals have resorted to reusable containers where ever possible, especially in the transport of medical waste from its origination site to the storage area.

These containers follow all of the same guidelines outlined by the federal and state government, yet because they are being cleaned and reused continually, their use is reducing greenhouse gases. Just replacing the red bags in certain areas will make a big difference. Consider the tens of thousands you might use each year, and then multiply that number by the number of hospitals around the country. Once you begin to look at those numbers on a nationwide, or even statewide, scale you can see how the methods you use for medical waste disposal are a huge contributor to greenhouse gases.

Speak with MedWaste Management pros about actions you can take to reduce the amount of products being used to remove medical waste from your facility. Together, our mission can be to protect the inhabitants of the entire planet, not just the patients inside of our facility.

Medical Waste Disposal

Illegal Dumping of Medical Waste is an Expensive Gamble

This past June, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection let it be known that violations with medical waste disposal for hospitals will be treated harshly. They fined both the UPMC and the Allegheny Health Network after an investigation found both were illegally disposing of their medical waste.

The investigation began almost 3 years ago when a local waste management company discovered untreated medical waste was mixed in with municipal garbage at a state landfill. Initially, it was believed that all had come from UPMC, but a further probe revealed that 2 hospitals in the Allegheny Health Network were also responsible. Both of the health systems were fined, yet the investigation continued around the state to ensure that no other medical facilities were also guilty of the practice.

Biological waste disposal violations were subsequently found in 12 hospitals operated by UPMC, which was then hit with a $451,000 fine. It was found that they were dumping large quantities of contaminated needles, wound dressings containing blood, and other bodily fluids right at the landfill. Two hospitals in the Allegheny Health Network – West Penn and Forbes – are guilty of similar practices, and were fined a total of $86,900 by the state.

According to a representative from the state’s environmental protection agency, the biggest concern was that none of the waste had been sterilized prior to shipment and dumping. This practice puts the local water supply at risk of contamination as the medical waste begins to break down and decompose on its own. The presence of contaminated needles was also noted, as these are an immediate health risk for any individual who comes into contact with them.

A spokesperson from the Allegheny Health Network admits a breakdown in their normally strict policies of medical waste disposal. Once the breakdown was discovered, they immediately took steps to reeducate staff members involved in the path of medical waste inside of the hospitals. They also opted to begin using a professional medical waste disposal company that could ensure that all medical waste was properly sterilized before it was left at any landfill.

What Led to These Violations

During the inspections following the initial discovery of untreated medical waste in a landfill, investigators found a number of violations inside of area hospitals. Noted was improper labeling, storage, and the handling of untreated medical waste before it even left the facility. This is why it is extremely important to implement a strategy that starts at the very collection of medical waste from where it is being generated.

To avoid this happening to your medical facility, it is imperative that you work with a reliable medical waste management service provider. Not only do we treat medical waste, be assist in educating your employees, providing you with the proper materials for collection, and structuring a plan for its safe removal from your hospital. This is your best defense against having to pay almost half a million dollars in penalties.