CMS finalizes emergency preparedness requirements

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

WASHINGTON – CMS has finalized a rule to establish consistent emergency preparedness requirements for healthcare providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid. The rule also aims to increase patient safety during emergencies and to establish a more coordinated response to natural and man-made disasters. The rule, which will be published in the Federal Register Sept. 16, requires providers to meet four common and well-known industry best practices: 1.) 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  provider; 2.) develop and implement policies and procedures based on the plan and risk assessment; 3.) develop and maintain a communication plan that complies with both federal and state law; and 4.) 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. The rule goes into effect Nov. 15, 2016, but providers don’t have to comply with the rule until Nov. 15, 2017.