Nursing homes without an installed, fully functioning sprinkler system will be cited for a deficiency starting this month, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In a memorandum released on Aug. 16, CMS clarified the sprinkler requirement that went into effect on Aug. 13. All nursing homes must be fully equipped with sprinklers in order to participate in Medicare or Medicaid, the requirement mandates.

If a facility doesn’t have sprinklers, it will be cited with deficiency tag K056 during surveys. Facilities hit with this citation will be required to submit a plan of correction to fix the deficiency within three months.

The requirement was first issued in a final ruling in 2008, with a five-year implementation period.

The memorandum also states that a civil monetary penalty will not be imposed for a facility that has contracts in place and completed plans for installation. Additionally, it details various categories of sprinkler systems that could warrant a citation and the deficiency’s severity. Most sprinkler deficiencies will be cited at the “potential for harm” scope and severity level D, E, or F, at a minimum.

According to CMS’ release, Illinois has the largest number of unsprinklered and partially sprinklered facilities with 214. New York has 213.

Click to see the full memorandum.