Testifying today at an Occupational Safety and Health Administration hearing, AHA policy staff urged the agency not to finalize its emergency temporary standard for occupational exposure to COVID-19, which is unnecessary and would cause confusion.
“Hospitals and their staff need clarity from the federal agencies in identifying what actions must be taken to protect against transmission of COVID-19,” said Nancy Foster, AHA’s vice president for quality and patient safety policy. “They also need rapid changes in those instructions as new science emerges. Having competing federal regulations diminishes that clarity, and the slow and deliberate speed at which regulations change makes it impossible to incorporate emerging scientific evidence. That’s why AHA strongly supports the continued reliance on CDC’s guidance as we continue to deal with the evolving pandemic.”
Between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s evolving, science-based guidance and recommendations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ vaccination requirement and existing OSHA general standards, AHA “strongly believes that an inconsistent OSHA COVID-19 health care standard is counterproductive,” Foster said. “It would cause confusion and will ultimately lower hospital employees’ morale and worsen unprecedented personnel shortages in hospitals.”
For more information, see AHA’s recent comment letter (https://www.aha.org/lettercomment/2022-04-22-aha-urges-osha-not-finalize-covid-19-emergency-temporary-standard) to the agency.