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Proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid fire safety regulations

September 08, 2014

Why compliance with proposed regulations is necessary
In order to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid programs, health care providers must, among other things, comply with fire safety rules and regulations adopted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Certification as a Medicare or Medicaid provider is necessary to obtain payment for services rendered to Medicare and Medicaid patients. Medicare and Medicaid providers must comply with any changes in such fire safety rules and regulations to continue to be eligible for payments from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Facilities affected by proposed regulations
In April of 2014, CMS proposed the adoption of the 2012 editions of the Life Safety Code (LSC) and Health Care Facilities Code (HCFC), both published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The 2012 edition of the LSC applies to Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals, long term care facilities, critical access hospitals, religious non-medical health care institutions, hospice inpatient facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and programs for all inclusive care for the elderly (each, a “Health Care Facility,” and collectively, the “Health Care Facilities”).

Significant changes in proposed regulations
CMS’ proposed adoption of the 2012 edition of the LSC aims to increase the safety of all patients, family, and staff in the Health Care Facilities mentioned above, and to simplify fire safety compliance by eliminating references to older editions of the LSC.

Significant changes proposed through adoption of the 2012 editions of the LSC and HCFC include, but are not limited to:

  • Requiring high-rise Health Care Facilities to install automatic sprinkler systems;
  • Implementing an evacuation procedure in the event the Health Care Facility’s sprinkler system is out of order;
  • Allowing Health Care Facilities to increase patient suite size; and
  • Allowing for controlled-access doors to prevent wandering patients and child abductions.

Upon the issuance of the final regulations, we will update our clients with a more in-depth analysis of the changes to the fire safety rules and regulations adopted by the CMS. However, if you would like more information on the proposed changes to the fire safety regulations, please contact a member of Godfrey & Kahn's Health Care Team.

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