Tennessee facility settles last of lawsuits related to deadly fire

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A nursing home facility in Tennessee where 16 residents died in a fire in 2003 has settled the last of its 32 lawsuits. The fire, which triggered a national discussion on fire prevention in nursing homes, is in large part responsible for the recent new automatic sprinkler mandate.

Terms of the last two settlements with the National Healthcare facility were not disclosed. While all the lawsuits have been filed, plaintiffs and defendants continue to dispute why the fire was so lethal. A hearing on release of court records is scheduled for Dec. 8.

Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed a requirement that all long-term care facilities be fully equipped with approved, supervised automatic sprinkler systems.