Author: Julie Brown, Institutional Market Leader, Tyco
Published: Thu, Feb 8, 2018
As part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not only administers programs for Medicare and Medicaid, but it is also responsible for making sure healthcare providers are compliant with fire and life safety regulations set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Recently the NFPA updated their rules for: NFPA Standard 99 (Healthcare Facilities Code) and NFPA Standard 101 (Life Safety Code) surrounding HVAC and smoke pressurization equipment, which presents a challenge as well as an opportunity for healthcare facilities.
The last time NFPA rules were revised regarding the functionalities of HVAC and smoke pressurization equipment in healthcare facilities was in the early 2000s. The infrequency of new code implementations has allowed facilities to continue to operate outdated and inefficient equipment. Due to limited funding and budget restraints, it’s been more convenient for many facilities to keep their current systems and only schedule necessary maintenance services, especially if the systems were still considered compliant.
Now that CMS has adopted new standards set by the NFPA, healthcare facilities are being held to stricter and more frequent maintenance tests. For example, owners of smoke control systems are being asked to measure pressure differentials across barriers and make sure they coincide with the test location to facilitate comparison measurements. This means facilities need to allocate budget to pay for the ongoing maintenance checks and any necessary upgrades.
While maintenance visits might seem costly and budgets are always top of mind for healthcare facilities, the new codes open the door for these organizations to explore other installer options. Healthcare facility owners and managers might be surprised to learn that a single-source provider can be more cost-effective and has many advantages.
Investing in a single-source fire and life safety provider streamlines installation and maintenance as the vendor is responsible for the design and upkeep of all systems. It also allows the vendor to build a strong relationship with the healthcare facility, and become proficient in the unique technology and challenges that a facility faces. With an integrated, comprehensive fire and life safety system oversight in place, healthcare facility managers can be better equipped to minimize disruption and focus on creating what matters most: a safe, secure environment and maximizing their patient satisfaction. By working closely and collaboratively, a trusted partner, like Johnson Controls, can help scale your technology as operations grow. Learn more about our end-to-end fire and life safety solutions here.