Providers praise introduction of Senate fire-safety bill

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Installation of sprinkler systems in nursing homes and other facilities would be accelerated by allowing facilities to speed up the systems' depreciation under a bill introduced in the Senate on Wednesday.

Sens. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Curt Weldon (R-PA) introduced the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act of 2005. The chief executive of the American Health Care Association praised the bill, but said that it should be expanded to include non-profit facilities. It currently would apply only to for-profit ventures.  "The Santorum-Weldon bill is a solid platform upon which to boost national fire safety, yet we must also encourage governmental measures to protect residents in non-profit facilities," said AHCA President and CEO Hal Daub.  Providers continue to hold out hope that Rep. John Larson (D-CT) will re-introduce a fire-sprinkler bill he first unveiled last July, too late for meaningful consideration in Congress to take place.  Increased fire safety in nursing homes has been a high-profile issue since more than 30 residents died as a result of fires at facilities in Connecticut and Tennessee in 2003.