CMS Updates Emergency Preparedness Rule

PUBLISHED: Feb 25, 2019
Relevant to: All Healthcare Organizations

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Emergency Preparedness Rule, finalized on September 16, 2016, outlines requirements for all providers and suppliers regarding planning, preparing and training for emergency situations. The rule includes requirements for emergency plans, policies and procedures, communications and staff training. While there are minor variations based on the specific provider type, the rule is applicable to all providers and suppliers. The final rule became effective in November 2017.

CMS has recently updated Appendix Z to add “emerging infectious diseases” to the current definition of all-hazards approach. After review, CMS has determined it is critical for facilities to include planning for infectious diseases within their emergency preparedness program. In light of events such as the Ebola Virus and Zika Virus CMS believes that facilities should consider preparedness and infection prevention within their all-hazards approach, which covers both natural and man-made disasters.

Additionally, CMS is providing additional clarification about portable/mobile generators. According to CMS, facilities should use the most appropriate energy source or electrical system based on their review of their individual facility’s all-hazards risk assessment and as required by existing regulations or state requirements. Regardless of the alternate sources of energy a facility chooses to utilize, it must be in accordance with local and state laws, manufacturer requirements, as well as applicable Life Safety Code (LSC) requirements.

If a facility risk assessment determines the best way to maintain temperatures, emergency lighting, fire detection and extinguishing systems and sewage and waste disposal is through the use of a portable and mobile generator, rather than a permanent generator, then the LSC provisions such as generator testing, maintenance, etc. outlined under the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines requirements would not be applicable, except for NFPA 70 - National Electrical Code.

Per NFPA 70, portable and mobile generators should:

  • Have all wiring to each unit installed in requirements accordance with the of any of the wiring methods in NFPA 70, Chapter 3.
  • Be designed and located so as to minimize the hazards that might cause complete failure due to flooding, fires, icing, and vandalism.
  • Be located so that adequate ventilation is provided.
  • Be located or protected so that sparks cannot reach adjacent combustible material.
  • Be operated, tested and maintained in accordance with manufacturer, local and/or State requirements.

These revisions do not take away existing requirements under the LSC, physical environment or any other Conditions of Participation that a provider type is subject to (for example to maintain safe and comfortable temperatures).

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