The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services updated its Life Safety Code Waivers on Aug. 30. The update is designed to prevent “unreasonable hardship” for providers while maintaining resident safety.

The codes are based off guidance from the National Fire Protection Association. Facilities have to document the use of a categorical waiver. As long as the facility meets CMS’ requirements of each waiver, the government agency’s permission is not needed. However, providers must show their surveyor their waiver for inspection when he or she arrives.  

One new waiver example is the use of 32-gallon trash cans. The previous ruling said unattended 32-gallon trash collection containers located outside of a hazardous storage area were not allowed. Ultimately, this created a need for more trash cans, which became an “undue cost burden.” The CMS update now allows for a waiver to increase the size of containers for recycling clean waste or patient records up to 92 gallons.

The memorandum also address waivers on suites, locked doors, extinguishing requirements, emergency generators, openings in exit enclosures and medical gas master alarms systems. Click to read the full update.