VA Requires State Homes to Meet Current Life Safety Code

The final rule takes effect April 1. It tells State Homes that receive a per diem for providing nursing home care to eligible veterans they must meet certain provisions of the 2009 edition NFPA 101.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has adopted a final rule requires State Home facilities receiving a per diem for providing nursing home care to eligible veterans to meet certain provisions of the 2009 edition of the National Fire Protection Association's NFPA 101, Life Safety Code. The change ensures State Home facilities meet current industry standards for life safety and fire safety, according to VA's notice.

The rule takes effect April 1, 2011.

The 2009 edition is the current edition of the code; its next edition will come out in 2012.

VA proposed updating from the 2006 code in April 2010, and an NFPA representative filed a comment noting there are several differences between the 2006 and 2009 editions. The commenter said the 2009 edition clarifies the circumstances in which a "change in occupancy" classification would be considered when an existing building is converted into a nursing home; clarifies the provisions for multiple and separate occupancy for nursing homes; enhances door-locking provisions based on clinical need or specialized security measures; recognizes the use of aerosol-based alcohol hand rub dispensers; and clarifies latching provisions for certain doors that open into or onto corridors.

"In the proposed rule, we noted that we were not aware of any significant changes from the 2006 edition to the 2009 edition," VA said in its March 2 notice. "The commenter acknowledged that the differences between the two editions are insignificant. Because none of the applicable updates to the 2009 edition of NFPA 101 require costly or significant changes to the facilities governed by this rule, we make no changes based on this comment."

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