CMS finalized a rule to bolster emergency preparedness of certain providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid. The emergency preparedness requirements aim to increase patient safety during emergencies and establish a more coordinated response to natural and man-made disasters. Some providers and suppliers will be required to plan for disasters and coordinate with federal, state tribal, regional, and local emergency preparedness systems by meeting four best practice standards:
- Emergency plan: 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 a provider or supplier;
- Policies and procedures: Develop and implement policies and procedures based on the plan and risk assessment;
- Communication plan: Develop and maintain a communication plan that complies with both Federal and State law. Patient care must be well-coordinated within the facility, across health care providers, and with State and local public health departments and emergency systems; and
- Training and testing program: 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.