Kevin Downey, Colorado Hospital Association
(720) 330-6019

Colorado Hospital Association Statement on Medication Security at Colorado Hospitals

Date Dec. 13, 2011

Greenwood Village, CO (Dec. 13, 2011) — The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) believes it is important to clarify the current regulations governing the storage, security and administration of controlled medications. This serves as additional comment on pending litigation in Colorado over the safe-keeping of operating-room drugs. CHA is not involved with the legal proceedings in any way.
All Colorado hospitals follow strict medication management guidelines in accordance with federal law,
Colorado law and/or The Joint Commission (the private accreditation organization recognized by Medicare) in
order to meet both state and federal licensing and accreditation requirements. More importantly, Colorado
hospitals view the safe handling and disposal of narcotics as a vital component of patient safety and of the
highest priority.
According to The Joint Commission requirements, “The hospital stores all medication and biologicals,
including controlled (scheduled) medications in a secured area to prevent diversion… and has a written policy
addressing the control of medication between receipt by an individual health care provider and administration
of the medication, including safe storage, handling, security, disposition, and return to storage.”

The State of Colorado also provides strict regulations for controlled substances in its hospital licensing
requirements: “The receipt, distribution, administration, and disposition of controlled substances shall be
readily traceable. Mechanisms shall be implemented to ensure the security of the drugs and prevent and detect
the diversion of controlled substances and other drugs that may be abused or illegally sold. When diversion is
detected, appropriate corrective measures shall be implemented… …The policy and procedure shall specify the personnel permitted access to the drug storage area(s).”
State regulations also specifically address medication storage: “The facility shall develop and implement
policies and procedures regarding the prevention of unauthorized access to drugs and biological. All drugs
and biologicals shall be kept in a secure area. All controlled drugs shall be kept in a locked secure area.”
Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) regulations state that “all drugs and biological must be kept in a secure area, and when locked when appropriate.” Additionally, “drugs and biological must not be stored in areas that are readily accessible to unauthorized persons.”
Colorado hospitals and health systems take these regulations seriously and rigorously adhere to them in order
to provide the highest quality standards and ensure the health and safety of patients.

About the Colorado Hospital Association
The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) represents 100 member hospitals and health systems throughout Colorado. CHA partners with its members to work towards health reform and performance improvement, and provides advocacy and representation at the state and federal level. Colorado hospitals and health systems are committed to providing coverage and access to safe, high-quality and affordable health care. In addition, Colorado hospitals have a tremendous impact on the state’s economic stability and growth, contributing to nearly every community across the state with 72,000 employees statewide.