New facility design and construction guidelines effective Oct. 1; OHA to provide education

Posted on: 7/12/17

On June 13, the governor approved and signed into law changes to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) rules for facility design and construction approval related to hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.

These rules create significant changes in the way facilities submit new or renovation construction plans for approval to the health department.

Most of the changes are a result of collaboration between the OSDH, OHA and the broader hospital community including engineers, architects and attorneys. The purpose of the collaborative was to improve the process and therefore the time for plan approval.

The major changes include:
  • Adoption of the FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospital and Outpatient Facilities, 2014 edition.
  • Adoption of the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, 2012 edition. This was required by CMS, effective July 5, 2016.
  • A process to request exemptions or waivers to allow for flexibility to make improvements in design and construction not contemplated in the current national guidelines. The health department will make available to the industry the de-identified decisions of these requests.
  • The Functional Program will be approved by the hospital board and submitted with the Stage 1 plans.
  • Submitted plans will first go through an administrative completeness review. OSDH will have 10 days to review submitted plans for completeness.
  • A new optional process to allow the hospital to self-certify plans. There are specific criteria for self-certification and the health department reserves the right to review final construction documents, conduct inspections, perform audits and withdraw approval if there are failures to comply. A facility meeting the criteria may start construction as soon as 21 days after filing an application with OSDH. The hospital accepts responsibility for making corrections if OSDH later finds the project does not meet guidelines and codes.
The details of these rules will be determined and published in the Oklahoma register on Sept. 1, 2017 and will be effective on Oct. 1, 2017.

The OHA will be providing education about these rules and the FGI guidelines. Save the date for Friday, Sept. 22, for a presentation by Douglas S. Erickson, FASHE, CHFM, HFDP, CHC. Erickson is the CEO of the Facility Guidelines Institute and senior advisor at Specified Technologies, Inc. Representatives from the health department facilities division will also be present to discuss the implementation of the new rules.