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CMS publishes new emergency preparedness Interpretive Guidelines

On June 2, CMS published its final rule for emergency preparedness guidelines and survey procedures. These rules affect all 17 providers and suppliers and the rules will be enforced starting November 15, 2017.

While the survey process will remain the same, the new rule creates compliance tags for emergency preparedness requirements. These tags will be similar to how K-tags are used to cite noncompliance with the Life Safety Code® (LSC).

The emergency preparedness tags will be called “E Tags” and are accessible to both health and safety surveyors and LSC surveyors. State survey agencies will have the discretion to decide which surveyor group will conduct the emergency preparedness surveys.

Today the Joint Commission and HFAP start surveying to the 2012 Life Safety Code®

As of today, CMS, The Joint Commission, and HFAP will be surveying hospitals to the 2012 Life Safety Code® (LSC). The LSC was adopted by CMS in June, with some of the big changes required under the final rule including:

  • Facilities located in buildings taller than 75 feet are required to install automatic sprinkler systems within 12 years after the rule’s effective date.
  • Facilities are required to have a fire watch or building evacuation if their sprinkler systems is out of service for more than 10 hours.
  • Greater flexibility for long-term care (LTC) facilities in what they can place in corridors. 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 ambulatory surgical centers, alcohol-based hand rub dispensers now may be placed in corridors to allow for easier access.
  • Fire watches must be continuous, “constantly circulating” through impaired
  • All side-hinged swinging fire doors must be tested annually.
  • Once every five years, an internal inspection of sprinkler pipe is required.
  • Fire hose valves must be inspected quarterly and tested annually/every three years, depending on size.
  • 1-hour fire-rated barriers are required between non-sprinklered construction areas and occupied egress areas.

Visit the Federal Register to see the full list of changes

Click here to learn more about the updated standards and policies The Joint Commission and HFAP have made.

 

HFAP releases prepublication standards manual

HFAP this week released its prepublication manual for acute care hospitals. The manual has been changed to include requirements of the 2012 Life Safety Code® (LSC), which was recently adopted by CMS.  The CMS adoption of the 2012 LSC went into effect in July, and the new requirements will go into effect for HFAP facilities on November 1, 2016.

The changes to the accreditation requirements are in Chapters 9, 11, and 13 of the manual and can be read here.