Scott Sutherland

New NFPA Journal feature lists tips for achieving compliance in health care occupancies

Blog Post created by Scott Sutherland Employee on Jan 17, 2012

Code equivalencies for health care occupancies
A feature story in the new January/February 2012 issue of NFPA Journal® includes an extensive overview of how the 2012 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, can be used to achieve compliance for a range of health care occupancies, especially hospitals. Here's a sample:

While the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and The Joint Commission (TJC) continue to enforce the 2000 edition of NFPA 101, both organizations will consider the use of a newer edition of the code for compliance purposes. If a health care facility chooses this option, it must comply in most cases with everything in the newer edition of the code — the intent is to prevent facilities from selecting only specific provisions in a newer edition of the code, resulting in a level of safety that may be lower than intended.

But there are exceptions. CMS calls them waivers, while TJC calls them "traditional equivalencies," but both processes allow health care facilities to select specific provisions of a newer edition of the code, including the 2012 edition, to achieve compliance with the 2000 edition. During the approval process, either CMS or TJC can determine whether compliance with selective provisions of a newer edition results in an acceptable level of safety. The code recognizes this concept of allowing the use of alternative methods to achieve compliance with the code when approved by the authority having jurisdiction.

The story, "Deficiencies + Equivalencies," includes an extensive selection of common design, maintenance, and operational deficiencies for health care occupancies, along with provisions of newer editions of the Life Safety Code, including the 2012 edition, that can help those facilities comply with current CMS and TJC requirements. This includes existing facilities as well as the design of new facilities. 

The story is part of the issue's health care theme. Read the complete story.

-Scott Sutherland, executive editor, NFPA Journal

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