Nursing homes to pay for their own sprinklers, CMS says

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It is estimated that almost one out of every 11 nursing homes do not contain a sprinkler system, between 20% and 30% do not have automatic sprinklers, and retrofitting will cost facilities roughly $850 million.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Wednesday that, within five years, all nursing homes will require full automatic sprinkler coverage to participate in Medicare. CMS also announced that the full financial burden of these upgrades will rest solely on the facility.

Reacting to the CMS rule, both the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging and the American Health Care Association have said that they support the requirement, but would like to see some financial assistance to help facilities undertake the endeavor. The organizations support the Nursing Facility Fire-Sprinkler Act of 2007, which would create a framework for issuing low-interest loans to nursing homes.