Accreditation

Chain of command: Succession planning must be specific to leadership role, not an individual

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, February 1, 2018

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One of the earlier episodes of the TV show The West Wing had the president of the United States fall ill. And because of some (unrealistic) paperwork mix-up, it wasn’t clear who had command of the nation while he was incapacitated.

Moving on to a more grounded hypothetical: You’re working at a hospital during an emergency (e.g., a hurricane). But the person who’s supposed to take the lead is out sick or on vacation, or is distracted from duty because a family member is in danger. Do you know who’s supposed to take that person’s place?

The requirement to have a plan for leadership succession is among CMS’ new Conditions of Participation (CoP) for emergency preparedness as part of an overall mandate to have a continuity of operations plan specific to emergency management.

For every leadership role named in your Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), identify two or more staff positions with the expertise and responsibility to step into action if the named leader cannot carry out his or her duties in an emergency.

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