Safety

Countdown to new CMS emergency preparedness rules begins

Hospital Safety Insider, October 26, 2017

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Facilities have less than 20 days to fully comply with CMS’ new emergency preparedness rule. The new rule go into effect on November 15 and the agency says it won’t accept any excuses for noncompliance.

“In order to meet these requirements, we strongly encourage providers and suppliers to seek out and to participate in a full-scale, community-based exercise with their local and/or state emergency agencies and health care coalitions and to have completed a tabletop exercise by the implementation date,” the agency wrote. “We realize that some providers and suppliers are waiting for the release of the interpretive guidance to begin planning these exercises, but that is not necessary nor is it advised. Providers and suppliers that are found to have not completed these exercises, or any other requirements of the Final Rule upon their survey, will be cited for non-compliance.”

CMS first announced the new CoPs in September 2016. The rule compels hospitals to communicate and coordinate their emergency plans with other hospitals and government agencies. They also require regular emergency preparedness training with staff and disaster contingency planning. CMS published the final version of the new Appendix Z of Medicare’s State Operations Manual online, and state surveyors will use newly created E-tags to score deficiencies and expectations set in it.

The rule require healthcare facilities to meet the following four standards:

1. Emergency plan: Based on a risk assessment, develop an emergency plan using an all-hazards approach focusing on capacities and capabilities that are critical to preparedness for a full spectrum of emergencies or disasters specific to the location of a provider or supplier.
2. Policies and procedures: Develop and implement policies and procedures based on the plan and risk assessment.
3. Communication plan: Develop and maintain a communication plan that complies with both federal and state law. Patient care must be well coordinated within the facility, across healthcare providers, and with state and local public health departments and emergency systems.
4. Training and testing program: Develop and maintain training and testing programs, including initial and annual trainings, and conduct drills and exercises or participate in an actual incident that tests the plan.

Facilities unable to complete a full-scale community exercise by the deadline will have to finish an individual facility-based exercise and explain why the full-scale exercise couldn’t be done. For those having trouble meeting the new rule, CMS has provided related resources. These include:

•    Checklists
•    Links to emergency preparedness agencies
•    Planning templates
•    State-by-state listing of healthcare coalitions



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