Recently, health facility professionals saw two key opportunities to participate in the advocacy process: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requested input into a proposed tentative interim amendment (TIA) on NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems; and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its proposed rule regarding regulatory provisions to promote program efficiency, transparency and burden reduction.

With this in mind, I would like to focus this month’s column on the following recommendations for developing good comments to proposed rule or code changes:

  • Be sure the comment is applicable to the proposal.
  • Clearly state your position for or against the proposal.
  • Include data or evidence to support your position that is specific to your experience.
  • Offer suggestions to amend specific parts of the proposal.
  • Offer particular additions that could improve the proposal.

When it comes to making a comment, length is not important. Making sure that the comment is applicable and specific is the most important part of the process. Many of the comments to the NFPA TIA were single paragraphs, yet provided important data — number of tanks tested, number of positive/failed tests, number of times there was a systemic impact — that reflected the submitter’s experience.

The proposed rule from CMS has a much broader application. The best thing to do for this type of effort is to determine which areas of the proposed rule specifically impact your world. Making sure that comments address these specific parts of the proposal and have data from your own personal experience will achieve
the best results.

This also is an excellent opportunity to submit any other concerns that could improve the proposal, such as certain regulatory issues that you feel are unnecessary, obsolete or excessively burdensome. Again, using specific data from your own experience is important to help support your request to add to the proposed rule.

Jonathan Flannery, MHSA, CHFM, FASHE, FACHE, ASHE senior associate director of advocacy