Proposed CMS rule could give some nursing homes extra time to install sprinklers

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Some nursing homes may be able to get a two-year extension on a requirement to install an automatic sprinkler system, under a rule proposed Monday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Under a 2008 rule, nursing homes were granted until August 13, 2013, to install an automatic sprinkler system. The new rule would allow certain facilities to get an extension on the deadline if they meet certain stipulations. These could include facilities implementing interim fire safety measures, or certifying that they are undergoing a major renovation or in the process of building a new structure.

CMS says the new rule is designed to “reform Medicare regulations that CMS has identified as unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome on healthcare providers and suppliers.”

In addition to the long-term care sprinkler waiver, the rule proposes changes to regulations identified as onerous to a variety of providers, including rural clinics and ambulatory surgical centers. The reduced regulatory burden would save $3.4 billion in healthcare costs over five years, according to CMS estimates.

The proposed rule will be published Friday in the Federal Register.

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