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QUESTION: Has anyone experienced an authority having jurisdiction requiring a patient treatment/procedure room — such as an electrophysiology lab, catheterization lab and operating room — to be fire-rated because of the amount of equipment storage in these rooms?

No, we haven’t. That would be a serious misinterpretation of code. These supplies are part of routine operation, not storage. The rooms are occupied and the equipment is not considered a hazard. If this is a problem, I suggest asking the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for an interpretation.

QUESTION: Does anyone know of a rule or regulation that prohibits the commingling of carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen tanks in the same rack? Our respiratory therapy department has areas where they want to have three of each in the same rack. Is this permissible?

The 2012 edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, states that “oxidizing gases such as oxygen and nitrous oxide shall not be stored with any flammable gas, liquid, or vapor” ( and since CO2 is not flammable or oxidizing, it can be stored with oxygen. Separating full and empty is still expected and I would recommend that you revise your policy to reflect this new practice.

QUESTION: One of the key patient satisfaction questions is “likelihood to recommend” the hospital. Please share some of your strategies.

The patient experience takes place where care takes place. What we have found with many clients (and this has been published in various journals) is that perception drives reality, and that clutter and disorganization drive down both the perception of care and the perception of cleanliness, while the lack of clutter, and a well-organized patient room has the opposite effect. Clinicians need real tools at the bedside to facilitate equipment and supply management.

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