Due to the complexity of hospital construction, OSHPD serves as the building official for all hospital general acute-care inpatient facilities in California. To determine the clinic buildings under OSHPD’s jurisdiction, see the Clinic CAN. OSHPD is responsible for the plan review and area compliance activities for hospital construction. Once OSHPD’s work has been completed, OSHPD notifies the Department of Public Health Licensing and Certification Program, which provides a certificate of occupancy for the new building/service.
OSHPD receives its authority under the Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act (HFSSA), which was enacted in 1973. The HFSSA originally pertained only to new construction or retrofits/renovations that affect the structural integrity of the building. Following the Northridge Earthquake, SB 1953 (Chapter 740, Statutes of 1994) was enacted, which established deadlines hospitals need to meet to remain operational. This is referred to as Seismic Mandate. In carrying out the Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act, the OSHPD Director receives advice/consultation from the HBSB as needed.
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceeded with rules that could jeopardize patient safety by allowing unlicensed devices to operate on the same frequencies as hospitals’ Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS). The FCC adopted rules that include smaller protection zones than those suggested by the American Hospital Association and supported by CHA. Although the FCC’s rules allow for increasing the size of the protection zones on a hospital-by-hospital basis to help ensure that WMTS interference will not occur, the hospital community remains concerned that it will. Last month, CHA urged members of the California congressional delegation who serve on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee to sign a letter from Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) that urged the FCC to delay for at least three months its consideration of the rules, to allow more time for a consensus resolution to the issue.
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) has announced a series of videos, “Hot Topics with Paul Coleman,” featuring the deputy director of OSHPD’s Facilities Development Division. The videos will explore issues relevant to facilities and answer questions that come directly from the building community. The first video focuses on electronic submission of plans to OSHPD.
CHA has been participating in meetings with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), local air management districts and other businesses regarding guidance OEHHA issued on March 6 — the revised Air Toxics Hot Spots Program Guidance Manual for Preparation of Health Risk Assessments. The guidance includes changes to air toxics risk assessment methodology that will increase facility risk estimates by 150-300 percent or more compared to the prior methodology, without any increases in actual facility emissions. The guidance would also require a number of hospitals and other businesses to provide written risk notification to their neighbors even though the hospital may have significantly reduced its diesel particulate matter (dpm) emissions. CHA is concerned that the OEHHA guidance lacks direction and information on how air districts should communicate expected increases in the facility risk estimates to the public.
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) has developed proposed building standards for a new seismic design category — Structural Performance Category 4D (SPC-4D), which meets the requirements of the Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act and acceptable structural engineering practices. The proposed standards are under review by the California Building Standards Commission.
The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) has released the seventh edition of the Design Guide for the Built Environment of Behavioral Health Facilities. Formerly hosted by the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems, the guide helps behavioral health care provider organizations understand and analyze how the physical environment affects patient and staff safety, as well as offers best practices in protecting patients and staff. The guide can be accessed on the FGI website at www.fgiguidelines.org/beyond.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued the attached memorandum to state survey agencies providing direction on how hospitals, critical care hospitals and ambulatory surgical care centers can obtain a categorical waiver to lower operating room relative humidity (RH) below 30 percent. The memo also addresses the need for humidity levels to be compatible with manufacturer requirements for storage and use of equipment.
Earlier this year, CHA issued a report, developed by a broad group of stakeholders, which identified issues hospitals may confront when lowering operating room humidity below 30 percent and urged hospitals to conduct risk assessments. The stakeholders who developed the guidelines were particularly concerned about manufacturers’ warnings related to RH levels lower than 30 percent – specifically regarding the impact on the integrity and functionality of equipment and supplies used in the operating room.
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) Facilities Development Division (FDD) showcased its eServices Portal (eSP) and its integration with Google Earth at the 2015 Government Transformation Showcase in Sacramento earlier this month. The eSP is an online system that replaces OSHPD’s logbook and assists in expediting plan review and construction. At the showcase, it was selected as one of the top 15 examples of California government transformation. To learn more about the eSP and how it has enhanced FDD’s emergency response capabilities, see the attached report.
The attached report, Relative Humidity Levels in the Operating Room Joint Communication to Healthcare Delivery Organizations, January 2015, was developed by a broad group of interested stakeholders to identify issues hospitals may confront and offers assessment guidance for lowering the operating room relative humidity (RH) below 30 percent.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will permit categorical waivers for hospital power strip requirements under certain circumstances (the issue of power strips in patient care areas was detailed earlier this year in CHA News). CMS has determined that power strip provisions for health facilities in the National Fire Protection Association 101 Life Safety Code (LSC) may create unreasonable hardship for providers or suppliers. The CMS announcement notes that the 2012 edition of the LSC also offers an adequate alternative level of protection. The categorical waivers will be allowed for the use of power strips in existing and new health facility patient care areas if the provider/supplier complies with all applicable 2012 LSC power strip requirements, and with all other 2000 LSC electrical system and equipment provisions. To use the waiver, hospitals must supply written documentation that they have chosen to do so and notify the LSC survey team during its entrance conference. The policy change is effective immediately. For more information, visit the American Society for Healthcare Engineering website.
On January 23, 2013, the California Building Standards Commission adopted emergency regulations revising the 2010 California Building Standards Code. One of the key areas impacted was signage. Hospitals have a lot of signs — large hospitals may have up to 80 or more different types. Find out about the emergency regulations and what you need to do to comply.
The California Department of Public Health has updated sections of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations related to licensing fees and diesel generator testing so they conform to changes previously enacted in statute. Because the changes were enacted through statute, they do not have a “regulatory effect” and are not required to go through the standard regulatory development process. A list of the affected Title 22 sections that have been amended or repealed is attached. Also attached are the updated sections.