New facility design and construction guidelines in effect Oct. 1

Posted on: 10/4/17

New rules from the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) for facility design and construction approval related to hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers went into effect on Oct. 1.

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.
  • 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. The hospital accepts responsibility for making corrections if OSDH later finds the project does not meet guidelines and codes.
  • A process that allows a hospital to request a formal consultation with the Health Department staff.
For  details of these rules and the forms for requesting the new processes, click here. (LaWanna Halstead)