CMS Finalizes Rule to Bolster Emergency Preparedness of Facilities Participating in Medicare & Medicaid
September 9, 2016 01:47 PM
On September 8 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] finalized a rule creating emergency preparedness requirements for health care providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid. The rule, Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers, aims to improve patient safety and establish coordinated responses to natural and man-made disasters. The rule will require all 17 provider and supplier types to plan for disasters and coordinate with federal, state tribal, regional, and local emergency preparedness systems
“Situations like the recent flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, remind us that in the event of an emergency, the first priority of health care providers and suppliers is to protect the health and safety of their patients,” said CMS Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, M.D., MSc. “Preparation, planning, and one comprehensive approach for emergency preparedness is key. One life lost is one too many.”
“As people with medical needs are cared for in increasingly diverse settings, disaster preparedness is not only a responsibility of hospitals, but of many other providers and suppliers of healthcare services. Whether it’s trauma care or long-term nursing care or a home health service, patients’ needs for health care don’t stop when disasters strike; in fact their needs often increase in the immediate aftermath of a disaster,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response. “All parts of the healthcare system must be able to keep providing care through a disaster, both to save lives and to ensure that people can continue to function in their usual setting. Disasters tend to stress the entire health care system, and that’s not good for anyone.”
The emergency preparedness rule replaces “the current regulatory patchwork of federal, state and local laws and guidelines, combined with the various accrediting organization emergency preparedness standards” that govern emergency response, noted CMS in the proposed rule.
The final rule requires Medicare and Medicaid participating providers and suppliers to meet four best practice standards:
Develop an emergency planfor a full spectrum of emergencies specific to the provider or supplier location;
Develop and implement policies and procedures based on the emergency plan and risk assessment;
Develop and maintain a communication plancompliant with state and federal law so patient care is properly coordinated with providers, all relevant health departments and emergency systems;
Develop and maintain training and testing programsand participate in drills and exercises or an actual incident to test the plan.
These standards are subject to the characteristics of each type of provider and supplier. For example:
Outpatient providers and suppliers such as Ambulatory Surgical Centers will not be required to have policies and procedures for provision of subsistence needs.
Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, and Long Term Care facilities will be required to install and maintain emergency and standby power systems based on their emergency plan.
The regulations are effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Health care providers and suppliers affected by this rule must comply and implement all regulations one year after the effective date, creating a November 16, 2017 deadline.
Stay tuned to NAHC Report for more information on this new rule because we will publish a more detailed and comprehensive analysis of this new 600-page rule in the very near future.