FGI opens public proposal period for 2026 drafts 

The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) has opened its public proposal period for the 2026 Guidelines. The proposal period, which closes June 30, provides an opportunity for the public to submit proposals for changes to any part of the 2022 editions of Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals; Guidelines for Design and Construction of Outpatient Facilities; and Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care and Support Facilities. Proposals can be submitted via FGI’s online portal where submitters can select any desired section and delete or add text for consideration. 

The Joint Commission continues standards reduction 

Although the most recent round of standards eliminations did not result in many changes to The Joint Commission’s Environment of Care (EC), Life Safety (LS) and Emergency Management chapters, there are two recently deleted standards of which facilities managers should be aware: Standard EC.02.01.03 – The hospital prohibits smoking except in specific circumstances; and Standard LS.02.01.40 – The hospital provides and maintains special features to protect individuals from the hazards of fire and smoke. The deletions are part of a greater goal to align The Joint Commission standards with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Conditions of Participation by identifying standards that may be redundant or no longer relevant. Another tranche of standards is currently under consideration for elimination and revision.

OSHA changes citation method for certain violations

Beginning March 20, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may, in certain cases, cite for penalty each instance an employer violates certain standards, including for respiratory protection, the agency said in guidance to its regional administrators. “Instance-by-instance citations may be applied when the text of the relevant standard allows (such as, but not limited to, per machine, location, entry or employee), and when the instances of violation cannot be abated by a single method of abatement,” the guidance states. The change applies to general industry, which includes the health care field, and “is intended to ensure OSHA personnel are applying the full authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Act,” the agency stated. 

CMS releases more guidance on REH conversion 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released new guidance and FAQs outlining the requirements and process for eligible rural and critical access hospitals interested in converting to Rural Emergency Hospitals (REHs), a new Medicare provider type effective as of Jan. 1. The guidance also includes an appendix with survey procedures and Conditions of Participation regulatory text. The agency expects to release interpretive guidance for REHs in the future. The new provider type was created by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The conversion of an eligible facility to an REH allows for the provision of emergency department services, observation care, and additional outpatient medical and health services, if elected by the REH, that do not exceed an annual per patient average length of stay of 24 hours.