Q: What is the minimum acceptable clearance required in an Emergency Department corridor? Currently there is a crash cart stored for rapid accessibility and the distance directly in front of it is effectively reduced to slightly over 72-inches allowing enough room for a stretcher still to pass. The cart is on wheels and can be quickly easily rolled out of the way as might be needed.
A: Is the Emergency Department a suite of rooms? If yes, then you have nothing to worry about. There are no corridors inside a suite of rooms, even though what looks like a corridor is actually a communicating space. But you do have to maintain aisle width clearance and section 22.214.171.124.1 of the 2012 LSC says the minimum aisle width is 36-inches. So it looks like you have that covered with the 72-inches clearance.
However, if the Emergency Department is not a suite, then you must maintain corridor width requirements. But how wide is the corridor required to be in the Emergency Department? Well… that depends, based on the occupancy classification of the Emergency Department, and whether or not you have any inpatient sleeping rooms in the area. Section 126.96.36.199 (1) permits the clear width of a corridor to be 44-inches if the corridor is not intended for the housing, treatment or use of inpatients.
Now, before you say you don’t have any inpatients in the Emergency Department, remember that CMS has interpreted all Emergency Departments that provide observation beds must be healthcare occupancies, as they consider observation beds to be sleeping accommodations and therefore must meet inpatient requirements. So, if you have observation beds in the Emergency Department, then you must maintain corridor width of 8-feet.
But if you don’t have any observation beds in the Emergency Department, then 44-inches is your clear width requirement and it looks that you’ve made that.