On May 4th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will publish a final rule to update health care facilities’ fire protection guidelines to improve protections for all Medicare beneficiaries in facilities from fire.

This final rule applies to certain providers, including hospitals, critical access hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, long term care facilities, and inpatient hospice facilities. At the present time CMS uses the 2000 edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Life Safety Code (LSC) to survey for health and safety compliance.

In this final rule CMS adopts provisions of NFPA’s 2012 edition of the LSC as well as provisions of the NFPA’s 2012 edition of the Health Care Facilities Code. The 2012 edition of the NFPA’s Health Facilities Code includes more detailed provisions applicable to different types of health care facilities. The provisions of the final rule unless otherwise specified will be effective on July 5, 2016.

The CMS press release announcing the final rule is on the Office of the Federal Register web site.