CHA News Article

CMS Issues Direction on Lowering OR Humidity Below 30 Percent

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.