Comments Close on Updates to Life Safety Code for Hospice Inpatient Facilities, Other Providers
June 17, 2014 11:09 AM
Hospices providing inpatient care directly in a hospice inpatient facility must abide by the requirements of the 2000 edition of the Life Safety Code that are applicable to nursing homes. In April of this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed changes that would update the applicable version of the Life Safety Code to the 2012 edition. A summary of the changes was outlined in NAHC Report on April 18, 2014.
NAHC and HAA submitted a statement supporting the update. Many hospices providing inpatient care directly already observe most if not all of the 2012 updates. Chapters 7, 8, 12 and 13 of the 2012 edition do not apply to hospice. The specific updates include:
Allowing a hospice to place alcohol-based hand rub dispensers in its facility if the dispensers are installed in a manner that adequately protects against access by vulnerable populations
Requiring evacuation of affected portions of the building or establishing a fire watch when a sprinkler system is out of service for more than 4 hours in a 24- hour period until the system is functioning again
Requiring every sleeping room to have an outside window or outside door, and the sill height not to exceed 36 inches above the floor. Windows in atrium walls are considered outside windows for the purposes of this requirement.
CMS does provide for exceptions. If application of the Code would result in unreasonable hardship upon the hospice, CMS may waive specific provisions of the Code, but only if the waiver does not adversely affect the health and safety of patients.
The full proposal can be found here and a CMS fact sheet on the updates can be found here.
Hospices interested in obtaining a side-by-side comparison of the 2000 edition and the 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code can purchase one at a reasonable price from the NFPA here.