Q: How does CMS and the accreditation organizations look at preventive maintenance of household electrical items, such as lamps and coffee makers used by staff in the hospital? Do I need to remove them from the facility?
A: No, you do not need to remove those items from your facility, but CMS and the accreditation organizations will expect that you follow accepted practices of conducting initial electrical checks on all equipment used in the hospital, but additional follow-up preventive maintenance (PM) activities would be up to you. NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities (1999 edition) has guidance on this issue under section 7-126.96.36.199, which requires the leakage current for facility owned appliances (e.g. housekeeping or maintenance appliances) that are used in a patient care vicinity and are likely to contact the patient must be measured. The leakage current shall be less than 500 microamperes. Household or office appliances not commonly equipped with grounding conductors in their power cords shall be permitted provided they are not located within the patient care vicinity. For example, electric typewriters, pencil sharpeners, and clocks at nurses’ stations, or electric clocks or TVs that are normally outside the patient care vicinity but might be in a patient’s room, are not required to have grounding conductors in their power cords. The patient care vicinity is defined as a space for the examination and treatment of patients which extends 6 feet beyond the normal location of the bed, table, chair, treadmill, or other device that supports the patient during examination and treatment, and extends to 7 feet 6 inches above the floor. After the initial electrical current check, conduct a risk assessment to determine if these household types of equipment are required to have periodic planned maintenance activities or only be addressed on an as-needed basis.