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Compliance News: CMS Proposes to Adopt NFPA 101-2012 and NFPA 99-2012

| David Stymiest

CMS recently announced its intent to adopt the 2012 editions of the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code® (LSC) and the NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code with modifications.  This process in now within a 60-day public comment period, and all public comments must be submitted by June 16, 2014. This round of public comments followed, by CMS responses, is required by the U.S. Administrative Procedure Act.  Although we cannot know for sure when the change will take effect, most industry observers expect the final rule to be published in early 2015.  Accrediting agencies are expected to follow suit shortly thereafter.  The proposed CMS rule is available online at: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2014-08602_PI.pdf.

The CMS proposal had made some changes to the codes.  The three most significant changes are briefly summarized below.

CMS proposed deleting the NFPA 99 emergency preparedness chapter because it has proposed its own more stringent emergency preparedness rules in a previous Federal Register posting (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/12/27/2013-30724/medicare-and-medicaid-programs-emergency-preparedness-requirements-for-medicare-and-medicaid).

CMS also proposed redefining health care occupancy because “patients in small facilities should be assured the same level of fire safety as those in larger facilities.”  CMS further stated “All health care occupancies that provide care to one or more patients would be required to comply with the relevant requirements of the 2012 edition of the LSC.” This change could have an impact on the multitude of ambulatory health care occupancies already occupied and being planned.

The proposed rules also require smoke removal in anesthetizing locations, with CMS stating “As fires in operating rooms continue to occur, we propose to retain the requirement for smoke control in anesthetizing locations, notwithstanding the lower standard in the 2012 LSC.”

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