Relocatable power taps (RPTs) are a common cause for citations related to inappropriate electrical issues. In 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began offering categorical waivers to allow hospitals to use RPTs, also known as multi-plug adapters or power strips, in patient care areas under certain circumstances.

The 2012 edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, addresses the use of multiple outlet connections in section This section allows the use of two or more power receptacles supplied by a flexible cord that are rack, table, pedestal or cart-mounted as a movable equipment assembly as long as the receptacles are permanently attached to the assembly; ampacity used doesn’t exceed 75% of the device; ampacity is in accordance with NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code®; integrity is regularly verified and documented; and means are employed to restrict the addition of devices or nonmedical equipment.

The waivers allow hospitals some additional flexibility in this issue while complying with CMS requirements. The requirements include:

  • Patient rooms meet the minimum number of required outlets.
  • Power strips in the patient care vicinity meet section of NFPA 99.
  • Power strips are not required to be an integral component of manufacturer-tested equipment and may be permanently attached to mounted equipment assemblies by qualified personnel.
  • Power strips in the patient care vicinity may not be used for non-patient care electrical equipment.
  • Power strips outside the patient care vicinity may be used for both patient care-related electrical equipment and non-patient care-related electrical equipment.
  • Power strips providing power to patient care-related electrical equipment must be special-purpose relocatable power taps listed as UL 1363A or UL 60601-1.
  • Power strips providing power to non-care-related electrical equipment must be RPTs listed as UL 1363. To access more information, go to ASHE’s Inappropriate Electrical Issues webpage