The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently issued a memo clarifying its ligature risk policy, which pertains to environmental safeguards for patients at risk of harm to self or others. The agency expects to release comprehensive guidance for state survey agencies and accrediting organizations in the next six months. Meanwhile, the accrediting body or state agency has authority to determine the level of citation for ligature deficiencies based on its expert opinion, CMS said. According to the clarifying memo, the focus for a ligature “resistant” or ligature “free” environment is primarily aimed at psychiatric hospitals and units, and does not apply to non-psychiatric units of acute care hospitals.

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