CMS Finalizes Emergency Preparedness Rule for Medicare and Medicaid Providers

Added on Sep 22, 2016

CMS Finalizes Emergency Preparedness Rule for Medicare and Medicaid Providers
From Industry Edge September 2016

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalized a rule to establish consistent emergency preparedness requirements for health care providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid, increase patient safety during emergencies and establish a more coordinated response to natural and man-made disasters.

The final rule requires certain participating providers and suppliers to plan for disasters and coordinate with federal, state, tribal, regional and local emergency preparedness systems to ensure that facilities are adequately prepared to meet the needs of their patients during disasters and emergency situations.

The requirements were designed to address specific deficiencies in the current Medicare emergency preparedness regulations for both providers and suppliers, which upon review were deemed not to be comprehensive enough to address the complexities of emergency preparedness. Specifically, the current requirements do not address the need for communication to coordinate with other systems of care within cities or states, contingency planning and training of personnel. CMS developed policies to address these gaps and opened its proposals to stakeholder comments, which were considered in the development of the final rule.

The final rule states that Medicare and Medicaid participating providers and suppliers must do the following:

  • Conduct a risk assessment and 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
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures based on the plan and risk assessment
  • Develop and maintain a communication plan that complies with both federal and state law, and ensures that patient care will be well-coordinated within the facility, across health care providers and with state and local public health departments and emergency systems
  • 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

These standards are adjusted to reflect the characteristics of each type of provider and supplier.

The final rule also includes a number of local and national resources related to emergency preparedness, including relevant reports, toolkits and examples. “Additionally, health care providers and suppliers can choose to participate in their local health care coalitions, which provide an opportunity to share resources and expertise in developing an emergency plan and also can provide support during an emergency,” according to a CMS press release.

These regulations are effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Health care providers and suppliers affected by this rule must comply with and implement all regulations one year after the effective date.

More information is available on the CMS Survey & Certification – Emergency Preparedness Web page.