Medical Waste Disposal for Practice Groups

Medical Waste Disposal for Practice Groups

Group medical practices can often contain a variety of patient services. These can vary from a standard clinical environment all the way to outpatient services and even pharmacies. Practice groups have been designed to be able to handle many of the non-urgent health issues and standard checkups. While a group practice offers a more cost-effective alternative for patients, they also generate medical waste that is required to be disposed of properly. Some practice groups focus on specialized treatments and can generate dangerous medical waste that goes beyond the standard healthcare facilities. Practice groups can also include healthcare offerings such as dental, veterinary, where they offer more in-depth specialty procedures.

Medical waste is considered to be any form of waste that is created as a by-product of healthcare work and could be infectious or potentially infectious as well as possibly contaminated with bodily fluids. There are local, state, and federal guidelines for the handling, storage, and disposal of medical waste. In some cases, states have specific guidelines that overrule standard disposal processes.

All staff within a medical practice group is required to be educated and trained on the handling, storage and proper disposal of medical waste. In most cases, a practice group will hire a medical waste disposal company to pick up and dispose of the waste, however, the practice group is responsible for the waste, including having proper confirmation of disposal. practice-group-biohazard-waste

Types of medical waste:

  • General waste makes up a majority of medical waste that is generated and is typically non-hazardous or infectious.
  • Infectious waste is any waste that can cause or potentially cause human infection. This can include but is not limited to: human tissues, blood, or any item that has been contaminated with bodily fluids.
  • Hazardous waste is a form of waste that is dangerous but may not be infectious. This can include but is not limited to items such as chemical waste, sharps, or discarded surgical equipment.
  • Radioactive waste is any form of waste that is created as a result of radioactive treatments. This can include but is not limited to medical equipment that makes use of nuclear elements and cancer therapies.

All employees are required to be aware of the types of medical waste and the specific containers that they need to be placed in for disposal.

  • Sharps are designated as items such as hypodermic needles, razor blades, scalpels and any other sharp object that could puncture the skin. They are placed in puncture-proof containers that are sealed and have an identifying label on the outside.
  • Biohazard waste can include human tissues, body parts, bodily fluids and anything that may have come into contact with these items such as cultures or swabs.
  • Pharmaceutical waste is most of the medication types, whether current or expired.
  • Hazardous/offensive waste can include but are not limited to gowns, gloves, aprons, used plastic packaging, gauze, and bandages. Since it may not be known if the patient is infected with any disease it is typically included as infectious waste to destroy any possibility of contamination.

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