Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nursing home fire safety code, cost focus of meeting

Date: Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 2:00pm EDT

Buffalo Business First Reporter-Business First
State health regulators will meet Wednesday to consider a Medicaid payment adjustment designed to help nursing homes meet a federal fire sprinkler requirement.
The Public Health and Health Planning Council’s committee on codes, regulations and legislation meets July 25 in Latham to consider the emergency adoption of amendments to the public health law that govern how quickly nursing homes are reimbursed for expenses through the Medicaid payment schedule.
All long-term care facilities and nursing homes that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs are required in meet requirements on automatic fire-safety equipment and sprinklers by mid-2013. The 2008 rule is part of the Life Safety Code, a compilation of fire-safety requirements for new and existing buildings published by the independent National Fire Protection Association.
About 100 nursing homes throughout the state have notified the Department of Health they’ll have financial difficulties meeting those requirements by the deadline due to financing issues.
The changes under consideration by the PHHPC committee would adjust reimbursements through Medicaid to begin in 2012 rather than 2014, the typical two-year lag under which reimbursements normally occur. The state amendment also sets the eligibility rules for facilities determined to be financially distressed.
Changes to the law were determined through collaboration with the Nursing Home Industry Associations.
The change is being considered for emergency adoption to allow financially challenged nursing homes to secure loans required to finance and perform the work by the Aug. 13, 2013 deadline.
Tracey Drury covers health/medical, nonprofits and insurance

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