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OSDH Announces Rule Changes for Hospitals and Ambulatory Surgical Centers

For Release:  July 6, 2017Office of Communications (405) 271-5601

New design and safety standards for hospital and ambulatory surgical center construction will go into effect Oct. 1. The standards administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) were adopted by the State Board of Health in February and approved by Governor Mary Fallin June 13.

The changes in OSDH standards for hospitals and surgical centers update building requirements to meet current national guidelines and Medicare and Medicaid safety codes. The revisions incorporate design, construction and safety innovations and improvements for health facilities. The changes replace OSDH design guidelines last updated in 1995 and safety codes last changed in 2000.

A new process for self-certification of plans will shorten the time required for OSDH approval of design and construction plans. Facilities and their architects and engineers will have the option to attest that their plans and specifications meet OSDH requirements. A facility meeting the criteria for self-certification may start construction as soon as 21 days after filing an application with OSDH. A self-certified facility accepts responsibility for making corrections if OSDH later finds the construction project does not meet guidelines and codes.

The amended rules establish a formal process for OSDH to grant exceptions and waivers of national guidelines. This change allows hospitals and surgical centers additional flexibility to make improvements in design and construction not contemplated in the current national guidelines.

The rule changes are a result of a collaborative effort between OSDH, the Oklahoma Hospital Association, the Oklahoma Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and experts in architecture, engineering, law and project management to increase the speed of health care construction projects from “concept to market”. Since 2015, the group has developed and tested improvements in design and construction reviews for Oklahoma health care facilities and OSDH.

The changes will be codified in Chapters 310:615 and 310:677 of the Oklahoma Administrative Code maintained by the Secretary of State. The final rules will be published in the Oklahoma Register Sept. 1, and will be effective Oct. 1. Click here to access the Register.   

Copies of the rules and supporting documents adopted by the State Board of Health are available at these links:

For more information, facilities should contact Terri Cook, Administrative Programs Manager, Medical Facilities Service at (405) 271-6576. Media inquiries should contact the Office of Communications at (405) 271-5601.

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