The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided information on operating room (OR) relative humidity (RH) for ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and supplemental information for hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) using the categorical waiver of Life Safety Code (LSC) Anesthetizing Location RH Requirements.
On Jan. 5, 2015, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation coordinated a release, from multiple healthcare organizations, on how a RH of less than 30% in ORs might affect the performance of some sterile supplies and electro-medical equipment.
Survey and Certification Letter S&C: 13-25-LSC & ASC, previously issued by CMS, permits hospitals and CAHs to use an LSC categorical waiver to establish an RH level of less than 35% in anesthetizing locations. Before electing or continuing to use this categorical waiver, hospitals and CAHs are expected to ensure that the humidity levels in their ORs are compatible with the manufacturers’ instructions for use (IFUs) for the supplies and equipment used in that setting, CMS says.
ASCs do not require a categorical waiver to use a lower RH level in their ORs, but they also need to ensure they comply with the IFUs for their OR supplies and equipment, CMS says. “Centers need to keep a daily log of relative humidity, so if they run below 35%, they need to have a plan of correction in place to maintain a proper RH level,” says Mark Mayo, CASC, executive director of Golf Surgical Center, Des Plaines, IL.