Last September, the Federal Register posted the final rule, Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers. This rule went into effect on November 15, 2016 and will be implemented on November 15, 2017. [i]
The final rule establishes national emergency preparedness requirements to ensure healthcare providers and suppliers affected by the rule are adequately planning for both natural and man-made disasters and coordinating with federal, state, tribal, regional, and local emergency preparedness systems. In addition, the final rule sets guidelines for how providers and suppliers can adequately prepare to meet the needs of patients, residents, clients, and participants during disasters or emergency situations. [ii]
The following will apply under the final rule:
- Requirements will apply to all 17 provider and supplier types
- Each provider and supplier will have its own set of Emergency Preparedness regulations incorporated into its set of conditions or requirements for certification
- Providers and suppliers must be in compliance with Emergency Preparedness regulations in order to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid program
Providers and suppliers are required to meet Four Core Elements of Emergency Preparedness:
1. Emergency Plan
Develop and implement a plan that takes into consideration all potential risks such as geographic area, care-related emergencies, equipment and power failures, and interruptions in communication.
2. Policies & Procedures
Ensure that all policies and procedures are regularly reviewed, updated annually, and comply with state and federal laws.
3. Communication Plan
Put in place an emergency preparedness communication plan that complies with federal, state, and local laws and includes necessary contact information. This communication plan should be coordinated within the facility, across health care providers, and with state and local public health departments, and emergency management agencies. [iii]
4. Training & Testing Program
Develop and maintain training and testing programs. Staff members should be educated on emergency procedures and participate in drills and other exercises. These programs should be updated at least once a year.
Planning for disaster and putting in place procedures for emergency situations is a serious matter. During Hurricane Irma, 11 residents of a Florida nursing home died due to the lack of planning and preparation.
The mission of the final rule is to avoid situations like the one in Hollywood, Florida and to provide consistent emergency preparedness requirements, increase patient safety, and establish a more coordinated response to disaster situations.
[i] “Center for Clinical Standards and Quality/Survey & Certification Group.” CMS, Department of Health & Human Services, 2 June 2017, www.cms.gov/ Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertificationGenInfo/Downloads/Survey-and-Cert-Letter-17-29.pdf
[ii] “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers.” Federal Register, 16 Sept. 2016, www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/09/16/2016-21404/medicare-and-medicaid-programs-emergency-preparedness-requirements-for-medicare-and-medicaid.
[iii] “Core-EP-Rule-Elements.” CMS.gov Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 14 July 2017, www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertEmergPrep/Core-EP-Rule-Elements.html.