CMS issued a S&C letter dated August 16, 2013, “August 13, 2013 Deadline – Installation of Automatic Sprinkler System in Nursing Homes,” which seeks to clarify some confusion on the discussion of a waiver being issued for the sprinkler rule for nursing homes that went into effect on August 13, 2013. At this time, all nursing homes must be fully sprinklered and will be issued a deficiency if the facility does not have a fully automatic sprinkler system in place after this date. CMS does not have the authority to allow extensions, although it issued a proposed rule earlier this year that would enable them to provide a limited extension for facilities that were in the process of undergoing a replacement or major modification. This has not yet been approved. However, CMS notes that it will take those factors into consideration when reviewing facility’s plan of correction, but it will be cited regardless.
At this time, CMS will not be requiring that there are special surveys to check on the status of the sprinklers at facilities, but the Life Safety Code part of the survey will inspect the sprinklers. According to this letter, which uses survey history data available through June 2013, many nursing homes are still not in compliance with the sprinkler requirement:
- Approximately 1281 nursing homes are not sprinklered across the US
- Illinois (19), Texas (17), North Carolina (13), Mississippi (10) and Pennsylvania (10) are the states with the highest numbers of unsprinklered nursing homes
- Approximately 1142 nursing homes are partially sprinklered
- New York (212), Illinois (195), Pennsylvania (108), Michigan (72), and North Carolina (59) are the states with the most partially sprinklered nursing homes
- Approximately 139 nursing homes are unsprinklered
- The states listed with unknown status on sprinklers include Indiana (15), Utah (4) and West Virginia (2)