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CMS Emergency Preparedness Final Rule: What You Need To Know!

As Elizabeth Houge, our esteemed colleague and well-known health care attorney explains in this article, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued final rules regarding emergency preparedness. The final rule published in the Federal Register on September 16, 2016, will be effective on November 15, 2016. Providers are not, however, required to comply until November 15, 2017 but best to get started on these changes now!Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Rule: Four Core Provider Elements

The four core elements of all providers’ emergency preparedness programs that must focus on continuity of operations, not recovery of operations, must include the following:

Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning

Providers are required to perform a risk assessment that uses an “all-hazards” approach prior to developing and implementing emergency plans. An all-hazards approach is an integrated approach to emergency preparedness planning that focuses on capacities and capabilities that are critical to preparedness for a full spectrum of emergencies or disasters. Also, the risk assessment must be used to identify essential components of emergency plans specific to providers’ and suppliers’ geographic locations. Examples include:

  • Equipment and power failures
  • Interruptions in communications, including cyber attacks
  • Interruptions in the normal supply of essentials, such as water and food

Policies and Procedures

Providers and suppliers must develop and implement policies and procedures that support the successful execution of emergency plans and that address risks identified in risk assessments.

Communication Plans

Providers and suppliers must development and maintain emergency preparedness communication plans that comply with federal and state laws. And these communication plans must include systems to contact appropriate staff, patients’ treating physicians and other necessary persons in a timely manner. Therefore ensuring continuation of patient care in a safe and effective manner.

Training and Testing

Providers and suppliers must also develop and maintain an emergency preparedness training and testing program. At a minimum, training and testing programs must include training for new and existing staff in emergency preparedness procedures as well as annual refresher training. Staff must demonstrate knowledge of emergency procedures during annual training sessions. Providers and suppliers must also conduct drills and exercises to test emergency plans in order to identify gaps and areas for improvement.

Emergency Preparedness Rule: Conclusion

These requirements will be mandated for suppliers through Conditions of Participation (CoPs) and conditions for coverage (CfCs), if applicable. CMS will also issue interpretive guidelines to assist providers to comply.

Here we go again! Yet another set of new regulations with which providers and suppliers must comply. Although compliance is not required for more than a year, now is surely the time to get started.

For more information about this or other legal issues in homecare, contact Elizabeth as outlined below.

Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.

Office: (877) 871-4062

Twitter: @HogueHomecare

©2016 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. All rights reserved.

Category: Leadership, Legislation/Reform

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