Wiring Doctors, Dentists and Similar Facilities Based in the 2008 National Electrical Code and the 2015 Standards for Health Care Facilities By D. Jerry Flaherty, Chief Electrical Inspector, Electrical Inspection Service Inc. (631) 286- 6642 - (516) 466-6486 WWW.EISLongIsland.com One of the fastest growing industries on Long Island and through the Nation is health care. Doctors and Dentists office, urgent care, and dialysis facilities are opening as standalone buildings and in shopping centers. Understanding the “National Electrical Code” [NFPA 70] (NEC) Article 517 and “Standards for Health Care Facilities” [NFPA 99] are the foundation to knowing how to wire these facilities for the safety of the patients as well as those that administer care of the patients who use these facilities. Both of these standards regulate facilities from the small office a doctor might have in his home for patients care to mega medical centers; both of these standards are also very complicated and use terms that we are not at all firmilure with. Before we can discuss what wiring method should be used where we must understand several terms as defined in these standards; Health Care Facility- [NEC] “Buildings or portions of a building in which medical, dental, psychiatric, nursing, obstetrical, or surgical care are provided”. Patient Care Area – [NEC] “Any portion of a health care facility wherein patients are intended to be examined or treated” (Patient) General Care Area – [NEC] “Patient bedroom, examining room, treatment room, clinics and similar areas in which the patient will come in contact with ordinary appliances (phones, general lighting, radios)” (Patient) Critical Care Area – [NEC] “… areas in which patients are intended to be subjected to invasive procedures and connected to line-operated electro medical devices” Invasive Procedure – [NFPA 99] “Any procedure that penetrates the protective surface of a patient’s body, not including needles or catheters used to administer fluids or medication and endoscopic procedures” Patient Care Vicinity – [NEC] “…space with surfaces likely to be contacted by the patient… typically 6 feet from the normal bed location, procedure treatment area and 7 ½ feet above the floor” Patient Care Wiring Method- [NEC] metal raceway with an insulated equipment grounding conductor or (HCF) cable having a metallic armor that qualifies as an equipment grounding conductor and an additional insulated equipment grounding conductor. When a patient visits the doctor, dentist or medical office, the patient will pass through several different areas from the waiting room to the treatment area. Each of these areas has different wiring methods; there might be five or more different types of wiring methods. Below are listed the areas and the wiring requirements for the different areas. NON-PATIENT CARE AREAS Areas outside the patient care vicinity and other areas of general use such as waiting rooms, business offices, corridors, and doctor’s office not used for patient care, lighting over 7 ½ feet above the floor and similar areas. These areas do not require any special type of wiring method and don’t require an Alternate Power Source. A Chapter 3 wiring method can be used if appropriate for the location. Emergency Systems are those systems intended to supply power and illumination during a power outage of the normal power source that is outside of the patient care vicinity. Emergency System requirements are located in NEC Article 700. Emergency Systems are for emergency lighting, exit sign, alarms and other legally required equipment. Emergency Systems feeders and branch circuits must be isolated from all other wiring and must have an alternate power source. If a generator is used as the alternate power supply, then the emergency system starts at the load terminals of the transfer switch. Battery operated emergency lights are permitted but must be on the same branch circuit as the normal lighting for the area. PATIENT CARE AREAS General Care Areas are areas intended for non-invasive procedures such as areas where shots, X-Rays, MRI’s, cardiograms might be administered. Patient general care areas must use a patient care wiring method for the branch circuits and “listed hospital grade” receptacles. Critical Care Areas are area intended for any invasive procedure while patient is connecter to a line voltage electromedical device. Areas such as blood banks, dialysis clinics, ambulatory, and dental offices are some examples of patient critical care areas. In patient critical care areas a patient care wiring method must be used for the branch circuits. Receptacles must be listed “hospital grade”, identified by color or other means and indicate the panel board and circuit number. Critical care area wiring must be connected to an alternate power source and are part of the emergency system to provide power and lighting for an “orderly cessation of procedures” when normal electric service is interrupted and the wiring must be isolated from all other wiring. Life Safety Branch – is the emergency systems in patient care vicinities. All the requirements of the Emergency System (above) apply the Life Safety circuits. The Life Safety system must use a patient care wiring method and isolated from other wiring. Pediatric Locations areas shall have listed “hospital grade” tamper resistant receptacles. Panelboard – If more than a single panelboard or transfer switch service a patient care area, then the ground bus in the panelboard must be connected together by a #10 AWG conductor. This article applies only to outpatient facilities and does not address hospitals, ambulatory, nursing homes or other facilities with sleeping beds. It doesn’t apply to facilities that administer anesthetize or other gasses. This article is the views of the author; your AHJ has the final decision on wiring methods and code compliance. Please send any comments, questions or suggestions to [email protected] .