Congressman to publicize bill requiring nursing homes to get sprinklers

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U.S. Rep. John Larson (D-CT) quietly introduced the Nursing Facility Fire Safety Act of 2004 before Congress left for its recent recess. Today, he's going to unveil it with a big splash at the site of a fatal fire that spurred its creation. The measure calls for a federal law requiring nursing homes to have full, automatic sprinklers within five years. The American Health Care Association fully backs Larson's bill.

The bill states the federal and state governments need to help fund sprinklers in nursing facilities, to be amortized over five years, through both Medicare and Medicaid. The AHCA said the government plays an integral role in funding assistance.

"Providing quality patient care also involves making ongoing changes to enhance safety-and we believe installing sprinklers in America's nursing homes has the potential to significantly reduce, if not eliminate, multiple-death nursing home fires," said AHCA president and chief executive Hal Daub.