April 17, 2014

CMS Proposes Adoption of Updated Life Safety Code

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a proposed rule on the adoption of an updated life safety code (LSC) for various facilities. CMS said that the updated code contains new provisions that are vital to the health and safety of all patients and staff. CMS intends to adopt the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) 2012 editions of the (LSC) and the Health Care Facilities Code (HCFC). The 2012 edition of the LSC is aligned with the international building codes and should make compliance across codes much simpler for Medicare and Medicaid-participating facilities.
Adoption of the new LSC for Health Care Facilities Code (applicable to hospitals, critical access hospitals, long term care facilities, as well as certain other providers) would -

  • Allow facilities to increase suite sizes;
  • Require all high-rise buildings over 75' to be fully sprinklered within 12 years;
  • Allow controlled access doors to prevent wandering patients;
  • Address issues of alcohol-based hand rub dispensers in corridors and patient rooms;
  • Require a fire watch (assignment of a person or persons to an area for the express purpose of notifying appropriate people during an emergency) or building evacuation if a sprinkler system is out of service for more than four hours; and
  • Require smoke control in anesthetizing locations.

The proposed rule is currently on display and will be published in the April 16, 2014 Federal Register. The deadline to submit comments is June, 16, 2014. For more information, contact Kathy Reep, vice president of financial services, at (407) 841-6230.