CMS has announced a final rule to update ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), hospitals, and other healthcare facilities’ fire protection guidelines to improve protections from fire for all Medicare beneficiaries in facilities.
The new guidelines apply to ASCs, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. This rule adopts updated provisions of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code (LSC) as well as provisions of the NFPA’s 2012 edition of the Health Care Facilities Code.
“This final rule meets healthcare facilities’ desire to modernize their environments while also ensuring the necessary steps to provide patients and staff with the appropriate level of safety,” said Kate Goodrich, MD, MHS, director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, CMS.
The provisions in this final rule cover construction, protection, and operational features designed to provide safety for Medicare beneficiaries from fire, smoke, and panic.
Some of the main requirements in this final rule include:
- For ASCs, all doors to hazardous areas must be self-closing or must close automatically. Additionally, alcohol-based hand rub dispensers may be placed in corridors to allow for easier access.
- Healthcare facilities in buildings that are taller than 75 feet are required to install automatic sprinkler systems within 12 years after the rule’s effective date.
- Healthcare facilities are required to have a fire watch or building evacuation if their sprinkler system is out of service for more than 10 hours.
With this rule, CMS is adopting provisions of the 2012 edition of the LSC and provisions of the 2012 edition of the Health Care Facilities Code to bring CMS’ requirements more up to date. In addition, the 2012 edition of the NFPA’s Health Care Facilities Code gives more detailed provisions specific to different types of healthcare facilities.
Providers affected by this rule must comply with all regulations within 60 days of the publication date of the final rule, which was May 4, 2016, unless otherwise specified in the final rule. To access the final rule, go to http://bit.ly/1VIhkbw.