After decades of partial solutions to fire threats in nursing homes, regulators are finally requiring sprinkler systems for the 2,466 facilities that still don’t have them fully installed.  On Aug. 13, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a rule declaring that the $144 billion long-term care industry has five years to install the systems. Some 1.4 million residents live in 16,000 U.S. nursing homes.  The government, which has adopted fire standards developed by the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association since 1971, was spurred to action by the deaths of 31 nursing home residents in incidents in Nashville and Hartford, Conn., in 2003.  “It is 35 to 40 years overdue,” said Janet Wells, director of public policy for the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, a Washington group that works to protect residents’ rights.  The Department of Health and Human Services recently began listing on a Medicare Web site, under “nursing home compare,” whether a facility has sprinklers, when fire-safety inspections took place, and the number of deficiencies found and corrected.

About Jerry

Jerold E. Rothkoff, a practicing New Jersey and Pennsylvania attorney, is the Principal of the Rothkoff Law Group, an elder care law firm. Jerry dedicates his practice to serving clients in the areas of life care planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid & VA benefits, and advocacy for the elderly and disabled. He is past President of the NJ Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, former chair of the elder law section of the NJ State Bar Association, and past President of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Jerry continues to be an outspoken advocate for the rights of the elderly and disabled. He writes for and gives presentations regularly to attorneys and other professionals about legal issues related to seniors and those with disabilities. Jerry’s community activities include the Twilight Wish Foundation, the Delaware Valley Stroke Council, the Alzheimer’s Association, as well as numerous other advocacy groups. When not in the office, Jerry spends time with his wife, Erica, and their five children, eighteen-year old identical twin girls, Liza and Julia, fifteen-year old fraternal twin boys, Evan and Gregory, and six-year old Aitan.

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