Two identical bills are underway in Florida government pertaining to operating room (OR) leadership that could be misinterpreted as a facilities initiative. These bills pertain to the management of surgical smoke for specific cases using specific OR equipment. The below bullet points are recommendations from the Florida Healthcare Engineering Association codes and standards committee that facilities engineers should review to help their organizations understand the nature of these bills and how they pertain to OR operations. 

  • Read the HB 587: Protection from Surgical Smoke and the SB 380: Protection from Surgical Smoke bills. The bills would require hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to adopt and implement policies requiring use of smoke evacuation systems during certain surgical procedures.  
  • Reference NFPA 99-2012, Health Care Facilities Code, on medical vacuum and on waste anesthetic gas disposal for supporting documentation that existing medical gas systems are not intended for use in surgical smoke removal.
  • Share this publication from The Joint Commission on how to alleviate the dangers of surgical smoke with OR leadership.
  • Discuss the bill with OR leadership to ensure knowledge of the bill and its implementation date of Jan. 01, 2024.
  • Ensure OR leadership is aware that this is an OR operational issue, and not a facilities management issue. 
  • Remind OR leadership that all hospitals and surgical facilities in Florida will be implementing these measures simultaneously, and to account for supply chain issues that may occur.
  • Finally, disclose that the bill has not passed, but there has not been any known opposition. Therefore, it is likely to pass both branches of government. 

Early, proactive discussion with OR leadership will help to ensure compliance with these proposed measures. 

A version of this article was originally written by Bobby Baird, SASHE, CHE, CHFM, CHSP, CHC, and published by Florida Healthcare Engineering Association Codes and Standards Chair Phil Cardone, CHFM, CHC.