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Volume X, Number 274

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Proposed Changes To Medicare and Medicaid Fire Safety Regulations

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.

Copyright © 2020 Godfrey & Kahn S.C.National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 251

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About this Author

Thomas Shorter Healthcare Attorney Godfrey Kahn Law Firm
Shareholder

Thomas N. Shorter is a shareholder in the firm's Madison office and Chair of the Health Care Team. Tom represents hospitals, physicians' groups, research institutions and health care related organizations, as well as other businesses, providing counsel on health care, corporate, labor and employment and regulatory matters. For clients in the health care industry, Tom handles matters regarding Medicare compliance, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), Physician Self-Referral (Stark), and Anti-Kickback. Additionally,...

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Danny S. Tang, Real estate lawyer Godfrey Kahn
Associate

Danny S. Tang is an associate in the firm's Real Estate Practice Group in Madison. He offers commercial entities assistance and advice on real estate acquisition, finance, development and leasing matters.

Danny was a recipient of the Godfrey & Kahn fellowship. He worked as a summer associate at Godfrey & Kahn's Madison office for both summers during law school. During his undergraduate studies, Danny performed market analysis for emerging businesses and advised them in market strategy and business development. 

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