The Joint Commission has announced additional revisions to its Environment of Care (EC) and Life Safety (LS) chapters. The revisions are meant to bring the accreditor in closer alignment with the National Fire Protection Association’s 2012 Life Safety Code® (LSC). The LSC was adopted by CMS and The Joint Commission last year. The revisions go into effect July 1, 2017 and apply to hospitals, critical access hospitals, ambulatory healthcare centers, home care, and nursing care centers.
At the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) annual conference in June, members will be asked to vote on changes to NFPA 99 and NFPA 101. While CMS and various accreditors recently adopted and implemented the 2012 edition of the NFPA’s Life Safety Code®, the NPFA is currently working on changes to the 2018 edition. The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) called to members who are part of the NFPA to take part in the voting process.
“ASHE has been working hard to align all of the various codes and standards to have less overlap, fewer gaps and fewer code conflicts,” wrote Chad Beebe, ASHE’s deputy executive director. “This work doesn’t happen over one code development cycle, however. Aligning the codes is a long process that occurs over several editions. Each code cycle is a chance for negotiations with code development committees to draw the boundary lines between codes to ensure that the codes don’t overlap, which is where most of the conflicts occur. To maintain these boundaries, continuous involvement in the development of the codes and standards is necessary.”
The Joint Commission announced this week that it would join CMS in adopting the 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code® (LSC). CMS and Joint Commission surveyors will begin using the 2012 LSC on July 5. In a press release, the accreditor said it would be updating its Life Safety standards chapter in the near future. Details on the update will be published in a future edition of Joint Commission Perspectives.
Click here for our previous coverage on CMS’ adoption of the 2012 LSC.
In a highly-anticipated move expected to significantly affect the regulatory rules that hospitals and other healthcare facilities are held to, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has officially adopted the 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code® (LSC).
CMS has confirmed that the final rule adopts updated provisions of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2012 edition of the LSC as well as provisions of the NFPA’s 2012 edition of the Health Care Facilities Code.
Healthcare providers affected by this rule must comply with all regulations by July 4—60 days from the publication date of the rule in the Federal Register.
The adoption of the rule has long been anticipated, as the LSC, which governs fire safety regulations in U.S. hospitals, is updated every three years, and CMS has not formally adopted a new update since 2003, when it adopted the 2000 edition. As a result, CMS surveyors have been holding healthcare facilities to different standards to other regulatory agencies that have gradually adopted provisions of the new LSC in their survey requirements.
Some of the main changes required under the final rule include:
- Healthcare facilities located 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 systems is out of service for more than 10 hours.
- The provisions offer long-term care facilities greater flexibility in what they can place in corridors. Currently, they cannot include benches or other seating areas because of fire code requirements limiting potential barriers to firefighters. Moving forward, LTC facilities will be able to include more home-like items such as fixed seating in the corridor for resting and certain decorations in patient rooms.
- Fireplaces will be permitted in smoke compartments without a one-hour fire wall rating, which makes a facility more home-like for residents.
- For ASCs, alcohol-based hand rub dispensers now may be placed in corridors to allow for easier access.
To get up to speed on the 2012 Life Safety Code® check out the following resources from HCPro Marketplace:
- The New Life Safety Code®: How to Prepare in Advance
- The New Life Safety Code® Workbook and Study Guide for Healthcare Facilities
- The New Life Safety Code® Field Guide for Healthcare Facilities