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CMS proposes acceptance of updated Life Safety Code

April 14, 2014
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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One of the key priorities for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is to ensure a healthy and safe environment for patients, families and staff in all provider and care settings. The agency is proposing adoption of the 2012 Life Safety Code (LSC) and its new provisions to replace the current 2000 LSC.  

Long-term care (LTC) facilities, hospitals, Programs of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), inpatient hospice facilities and religious nonmedical healthcare organizations (RNHCIs) are among the settings required to comply with the LSC.

Included in the LSC are National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) updates and the Health Care Facility Code (HCFC). As stated in a CMS fact sheet, the HCFC provisions would provide “minimum requirements for the installation, inspection, testing, maintenance, performance and safe practices of healthcare facility materials, equipment and appliances.”

The changes of the 2012 LSC for HCFC, (covering hospitals, PACE programs, hospice facilities and RNHCIs) would:

  • Allow facilities to increase suite sizes
  • Require all high-rise buildings over 75 feet to have sprinkler systems within 12 years
  • Allow facilities to have controlled access doors to prevent patient wandering
  • Address the use of alcohol-based hand dispensers in corridors
  • Require a fire watch for any sprinkler system out of order for more than four hours
  • Require smoke control in anesthetizing areas.

The proposed rule is on display at and will be published in the April 16 Federal Register. The deadline to submit comments is June 16.

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