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  • Washington Highlights

    CMS Publishes Final Rule on Emergency Preparedness Requirements

    Len Marquez, Senior Director, Government Relations

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) September 16 published a final rule on Emergency Preparedness Requirements for providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid, which requires providers to coordinate with federal, state, and local emergency preparedness systems to increase patient safety during emergencies.

    CMS asserts that current emergency preparedness regulations fail to address various complexities of emergency preparedness such as coordination with other systems of care within cities or states, contingency planning, and personnel training. CMS also states that providers have raised concerns about the need for advanced preparation, effective policies and communication plans, and sufficient training that will assist in providing adequate care to patients during an emergency.

    To meet patient needs during disasters and emergency situations, the final rule requires providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid to meet the following four core elements and industry best practice standards:

    • Based on a risk assessment, develop an emergency plan that uses an all-hazards approach focusing on capabilities that are critical to preparedness for a full spectrum of emergencies or disasters most likely to occur in the location of provider or supplier;

    • Develop and implement policies and procedures that support execution of the plan and risk assessment;

    • Develop and maintain a communication plan that complies with both federal state law; and

    • Develop and maintain training and testing programs, including initial and annual staff trainings, and conduct drills and exercises or participate in an actual incident that tests the plan.

    The regulations are effective November 15. Providers have until November 15, 2017, to implement the requirements.