Spotlight on Emergency Preparedness in the Long Term Care Environment

PUBLISHED: May 5, 2017
Relevant to: Long Term Care

On September 8, 2016 the Federal Register posted the final rule Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers. The regulation was effective on November 16, 2016. Health care providers and suppliers affected by this rule must comply and` implement all regulations by November 16, 2017.

This rule applies to 17 provider and supplier types as a condition of participation for CMS. The providers/suppliers are required to meet four core elements (with specific requirements adjusted based on the individual characteristics of each provider and supplier):

  • Emergency plan—Develop an emergency plan based on a risk assessment and using an “all hazards” approach, which will provide an integrated system for emergency planning that focuses on capacities and capabilities.
  • Policies and procedures—Develop and implement policies and procedures based on the emergency plan and risk assessment that are reviewed and updated at least annually. For Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities the policies and procedures must address the provision of subsistence needs, such as food, water and medical supplies, for staff and residents, whether they evacuate or shelter in place.
  • Communication plan—Develop and maintain an emergency preparedness communication plan that complies with federal, state and local laws. Patient care must be coordinated within the facility, across healthcare providers, and with state and local public health departments and emergency management systems to protect patient health and safety in the event of a disaster.
  • Training and testing program—Develop and maintain training and testing programs, including initial training in policies and procedures. Facility staff will have to demonstrate knowledge of emergency procedures and provide training at least annually. Facilities must conduct drills and exercises to test the emergency plan or participate in an actual incident that tests the plan.

Long-term care (LTC) requirements at 42 CFR 483.73 further require that facilities:

  • Have emergency and standby power systems,
  • Have a plan to account for/locate all residents
  • Have a method to share appropriate information with residents/families/representatives

Included with today’s notice are example policies related to emergency preparedness requirements in the LTC environment.

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