On September 16, 2017, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued an Emergency Action requiring all nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have an emergency power plan.
This directive follows the death of 12 residents in a Hollywood, Florida nursing home as a result of Hurricane Irma. These deaths occurred days after the hurricane had passed the region and appear to be the result of heat-related health problems that ensued as a result of the facility air-conditioning system not being functional. Per the Governor's Emergency Action, the emergency power plans must be implemented within 60 days, which puts the deadline at November 15, 2017. With an estimated 680 nursing homes and 3,100 assisted living facilities in the state, Governor Scott’s 60-day proposal is certain to challenge inspection and enforcement authorities, as well as nursing home administrators who may still be recovering from the hurricane.
Free online tool
This online tool provides an overview of the multiple NFPA codes and standards that apply to emergency power systems in health care facilities and shows how they overlap. Understanding this dynamic will help facilities comply with new requirements from the state of Florida and mandates from CMS that will need to be met in order to receive approval from authorities having jurisdiction, including federal and state health care organizations as well as state fire marshals for compliance with the original installation. Start using the online tool.
Video: NFPA's Jonathan Hart provides an overview of the NFPA codes and standards that address fire and life safety considerations for nursing home owners, designers, and local emergency responders.
More videos: State of Florida emergency power order. Note: You must log in or register on NFPA Xchange™ to watch these videos.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requires providers to develop emergency preparedness plans
On September 16, 2016 CMS published a final rule requiring 17 of the provider types governed under Medicare and Medicaid programs to establish a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan. The regulations will be in effect on November 15, 2016 and the implementation date will be one year later - November 15, 2017. The two major topics covered in the regulation concern development of an emergency preparedness program and specialized provisions dealing with emergency and backup power supplies for certain health care facilities.
A major component of this rule is that hospitals, transplant centers, critical access hospitals and long term care facilities must carefully evaluate their emergency and standby power systems. Specifically, these systems must be designed, installed, inspected, tested, and maintained in accordance with the 2010 edition of NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems, as well as both NFPA 99 and NFPA 101, 2012 editions.
The CMS announcement about the emergency preparedness rule will require a coordinated set of requirements to be established by the various providers governed under the rule. The emergency preparedness spectrum extends to the public who rely on the various organizations that provide different levels of medical and social wellness care as well as to the staff and physical plant assets that are part of the delivery system.
Free tool: While the rule is quite comprehensive, there are essentially six topical areas that apply to some or all of the 17 provider types under the rule. NFPA offers this guide to help users understand which of the six areas apply to what provider type along with a link back to the final rule to provide more detail. This resource has been designed primarily as an educational and convenience tool to allow those impacted by the changes to gain familiarity with CMS expectations and requirements.
From the January/February 2014 issue of NFPA Journal®: The deaths of 12 residents at a Florida nursing home illustrate the critical need for emergency power supplies in health care facilities - and offer a sobering reminder of a similar incident following Hurricane Katrina.
Video: Emergency! Preparedness, Planning, Generators: The New Rules Affecting Health Care. From the 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston. This session will explore the genesis of the rule and the implementation challenges and resources to assist provider organizations in carrying out requirements.