The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its final rule establishing revised emergency preparedness requirements for Medicare and Medicaid participating providers and suppliers. The rule, which went into effect on November 15, 2016 and with which health care providers must comply by November 15, 2017, seeks to establish greater patient and resident safety and a more coordinated response between and among health care providers and first responders during natural and man-made disasters. The new requirements apply directly to all affected Medicare and Medicaid health care provider and supplier types, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, and organ procurement organizations. Compliance with this new rule is required for continued participation in Medicare.
”This final rule issues emergency preparedness requirements that establish a comprehensive, consistent, flexible, and dynamic regulatory approach to emergency preparedness and response that incorporates the lessons learned from the past, combined with the proven best practices of the present.”
To comply with the new rule, participating providers must:
- Develop an emergency plan based upon an “all hazards” risk assessment of threats and vulnerabilities specific and most likely to impact each provider’s location (plan updated annually);
- Develop and implement policies and procedures based upon the all hazards risk assessment (policies and procedures updated annually)
- Develop communication plan(s) to coordinate patient and resident care across health care providers and first responders (plan(s) updated annually)
- Develop training and testing programs, including annual drills and exercises, to demonstrate knowledge of emergency policies and procedures
Specific requirements within these key areas will, however, vary by provider type.
Facilities are required to be in compliance with the new requirements by November 15, 2017. Failure to comply will trigger the same general enforcement procedures and sanctions that are in place for non-compliance to other CMS conditions or requirements.
Full details about developing emergency preparedness plans and conducting compliant trainings and exercises, can be found on the CMS website. For more information or if you have questions about the impact of this rule on your existing plans, policies, and/or procedures, please contact Greg Vanden-Eykel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.654.8200.
Greg Vanden-Eykel, an attorney at Barton Gilman, successfully represents Massachusetts and Rhode Island health care facilities. He previously worked as an emergency preparedness consultant to federal and state government agencies and first responders drafting emergency response plans and policies and facilitating full scale and table top exercises assessing agencies’ capabilities to respond to natural disaster and terrorism events.