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CMS gives hospitals extension to meet new fire safety codes

June 22, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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Hospitals and other healthcare organizations have a few more months to meet the new fire safety requirements.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a final rule to adopt the 2012 editions of the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code and NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code effective July 5.

CMS announced Monday in a survey-and-certification memo it will not begin surveying for compliance with the 2012 codes until November. CMS surveyors will continue to use the current process on Life Safety surveys until Nov. 1.

The July 5 ruling still applies when considering which code chapters facilities must comply with, depending on whether the project involves a new or existing building.

“Buildings constructed before July 5, 2016, can meet existing occupancy requirements. In addition, buildings that receive design approval or building permits for construction before July 5, 2016, can meet existing occupancy requirements. All other building construction must meet new occupancy requirements,” according to CMS memo S&C: 16-29-LSC.

CMS has given The Joint Commission 60 days as of June 8 to submit revised standards, surveyor tools, documents and training.

The final rule applies to hospitals, crucial access hospitals, hospices with inpatient services, long-term care facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, ambulatory surgical centers, religious non-medical healthcare institutions and facilities with programs of all-inclusive care for the elderly (PACE). Current fire safety code requirements for hospitals that participate in Medicare were more than 10 years old.

Read the final rule here.

Related: New Life Safety Code requirements begin July 5