Gov Watch

SSN Staff  - 
Friday, June 1, 2007

Indiana passes sprinkler legislation

The Paper of Mongomery County reported that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels in April signed Senate Enrolled Act 93, which requires nursing homes and other health facilities to install automatic fire sprinklers before July 1, 2012. If a system is not installed before July 1, 2010, a plan for completion must be submitted to the State Department of Health. In addition, a working smoke detector must be in each resident's room. The legislation passed both houses unanimously.
A state Department of Health consumer guide to nursing homes will now disclose whether or not a facility is protected with sprinklers and smoke detectors and if the system is connected to the facility's central alarm system. There are 516 certified comprehensive care facilities in the state, nine do not have sprinkler systems and 18 are partially protected by a sprinkler system.

Missouri fire bill moves to Senate

The Joplin Globe reported that a bill strengthening fire-safety regulations for group homes has advanced to the Missouri Senate after being approved in the House. The bill passed the House by a 152-6 vote in April. The legislation calls for complete fire-alarm systems (smoke detectors connected to a fire department, heat detectors, manual alarms at every exit and attendant's station. The smoke detectors need to give audio and visual warning throughout the building) to be in place by Dec. 31, 2008. The bill requires that residential-care homes licensed by the state, nursing homes and many assisted-living centers have sprinkler systems if they are first licensed after August 2007. Existing homes that are without systems would need to install sprinklers by 2015.
Group homes would have access to a loan program that would be linked to Medicaid reimbursement rates that help pay for the care of low-income residents. The lower the reimbursement rate, the longer the center would have to pay back the loan.
Last November, a fire destroyed the Anderson Guest House, a home for the mentally impaired, and killed 11 people. Approximately 474 care centers in Missouri would need complete or partial sprinklers added at an estimated cost of $20 million.