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Final Rule on Fire Safety Requirements for Health Care Facilities

CMS published the final rule that will amend the fire safety standards for Medicare and Medicaid participating health care facilities. It will adopt the 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code (LSC) and eliminate references in our regulations to all earlier editions of the Life Safety Code. It will also adopt the 2012 edition of the Health Care Facilities Code, with some exceptions.

The new rule does not change the opportunity for facilities to apply for a waiver from certain provisions if application of the rules would result in unreasonable hardship for a facility, and if the health and safety of its patients would not be compromised by such waiver. It will also continue to allow for the use of categorical waivers, which allow for a waiver from specified federal LSC requirements without the need to apply specifically to CMS. We reference an October 2015 memo from Ober|Kaler Categorical Waiver Requests.

With changes to the Life Safety Code, any facilities undergoing or preparing for renovations to their building should pay special attention to the new standards. HFAM will be hosting an education program on June 9 “Renovating to Enhance Your Presence in the Community” which will include discussion of new LSC requirements. We strongly encourage centers to attend to be well prepared for the changes to the LSC standards.