CMS has proposed modifications to the Emergency Preparedness Condition of Participation designed to lessen the burdens, particularly for small providers in compliance with the detailed Interpretive Guidelines.
In the Federal Register posting “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Proposed Regulatory Provisions to Promote Program Efficiency, Transparency, and Burden Reduction”, CMS issued a proposed rule as part of reducing regulation and controlling regulatory costs.
Emergency Preparedness Modifications
- Emergency program: Give facilities the flexibility to review their emergency program every two years, or more often at their own discretion, in order to best address their individual needs. CMS is emphasizing that facilities will still be held accountable, and that review of the plan may be necessary more frequently.
- Emergency plan: Eliminating the duplicative requirement that the emergency plan include documentation of efforts to contact local, tribal, regional, State and federal emergency preparedness officials and a facility’s participation in collaborative and cooperative planning efforts. CMS indicated that this information is contained in other regulations.
- Training: Give facilities greater discretion in revising training requirements to allow training to occur annually or more often at their own discretion. CMS stated that overly restrictive training requirements can have unintended consequences in preventing facilities from focusing their training efforts on what makes sense for their facility and unique circumstances.
- Testing (for inpatient providers/suppliers): Increasing the flexibility for the testing requirement so that one of the two annually-required testing exercises may be an exercise of the facility’s choice. CMS clarified that While two annual tests are still required (including a full scale community exercise), flexibility is provided so that one of those training sessions can be done through various innovative methods such as simulations, desk top exercises, workshops or other methods that may best meet facility needs based upon the population they serve.
- Testing (for outpatient providers/suppliers): Revising the requirement for facilities to conduct two testing exercises to one testing exercise annually. CMS clarified that a facility can elect to do additional testing based upon their unique needs. Suggesting the use of innovative methods including desk top drills and simulations.
In proposing to ease the Emergency Preparedness regulations CMS clarified that they were continuing to ensure that “facilities maintain access to services during emergencies, provide safety for patient, safeguard human resources, maintain business continuity and protect physical resources.” The stated intent of the proposed reduction is to reduce the complexity of the requirements.
Is your Rehab Agency or CORF subject to the Emergency Preparedness Rule? Have you updated your policies and procedures? We have complete Rehab Agency Policies and Procedures in our store. Emergency Preparedness Policies and Procedures to complement your existing Rehab Agency polices is also available in our store. A summary of the proposed modification to Emergency Preparedness Conditions of Participation has been posted by CMS: CMS-3346-P