Code Purple is a message announced over a hospital’s public address system warning all the staff of a bomb threat requiring evacuation, a violent person or patient in the hospital, there’s a VIP or celebrity in the hospital (everyone needs to behave), there’s an overloaded emergency department that cannot accept more patients therefore incoming patients should be diverted to other facilities, a hostage situation, a patient abduction, a psychiatric emergency or a lost or disoriented elderly patient.
Standardized hospital emergency codes are used to help improve patient safety and lessen the risk of errors in care. It is a notification of an event that needs immediate action. Emergency codes also facilitate the translation of essential information to the responding code teams to ensure optimal response.
Of interest, hospital emergency codes may signify different events at different hospitals and can cause confusion to staff that may work at more than one hospital. As a result, there is a push to make the color codes more uniform across facilities.
Speaking of codes, Medicare recently unveiled a large campaign intended to reduce the number of outpatient codes from five to one, a campaign against highly specific billing categories that regulators say motivate providers to tack on unnecessary services in hopes of earning richer payments. Find out more at Law360.