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The New Emergency Preparedness Rule for Healthcare Providers and Suppliers

Paul Neyman

The New Emergency Preparedness Rule for Healthcare Providers and Suppliers

When it comes to emergency preparedness, everyone is reconsidering the rules. From the private sector to the public sector, leadership teams are recognizing the need to prepare for increasingly frequent natural and manmade disasters.

Healthcare providers and suppliers are the latest parties to adopt. Beginning on November 16, 2017, they must comply with new Emergency Preparedness regulations to participate in Medicare or Medicaid programs. If you’re included in this group, here is what you need to know.

The Core Elements of the Mandate

According to the Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers, there are four core elements of emergency preparedness.

These are:

  1. Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning (including but not limited to)
    1. Hazards likely in geographic area
    2. Care-related emergencies
    3. Equipment and power failures
    4. Interruption in communications, including cyber attacks
    5. Loss of all or part of a facility
    6. Loss of all or partial supplies
    7. An annual review and update of this plan
  2. Communication Planning
    1. Must comply with both federal and state law
    2. Must have an emergency alert system to contact staff (patients’ physicians, other critical members of staff)
    3. Must be well-coordinated across facilities, healthcare providers, and state and local public health departments and emergency management agencies
  3. Policies and Procedures
    1. In compliance with federal and state law
  4. Training and Testing
    1. In compliance with federal and state law
    2. Updated annually (or more frequently)

Why The Mandate?

The mandate is coming at a time when the world is grows increasingly unpredictable. Between flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, influenza and viruses, and homeland security threats. Having a sound emergency management plan in place can mitigate risk.

Emergency communication solutions don’t just impact your organization. They can impact entire communities, and have numerous public health implications. Particularly in the healthcare sector, stakeholders often include health care provider systems, public health departments, medical support services, laboratories, and emergency services.

These federal mandates are being developed from lessons learned in recent years. Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Hurricane Harvey have affected states, the provider community and ultimately, the entire nation. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is using knowledge and best practices gained from these incidents in order to avoid making the same mistakes twice.

The Key Phases For Effective Healthcare Provider Emergency Planning

The Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers has identified several phases for adequate emergency planning. They are as follows.

Hazard Identification – Understand hazards that have the ability to affect the facility and surrounding areas. What might interrupt utilities, supplies, or staff?

Hazard Mitigation – Think ahead to how you can eliminate or reduce the probability of a disaster. When elimination isn’t an option, can you reduce the severity of the fallout?

Emergency Preparedness – How will you continue to meet the needs of patients and staff when operations are interrupted? Do you have a hospital mass notification system, so that everyone is up-to-date on how to proceed?

Response – Once you’ve established unified mass notification, who is doing what? What activities are taking place before, during and after the hazard to address immediate effects?

Recovery – What activities are taking place to return the facility to normal after the response?

Steps You Can Take Right Now

You can act now to gear up your healthcare facility for a disaster. The further out you can plan, the better. Here are the steps you can take right now.

  1. You can download the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Emergency Preparedness Checklist. Don’t wait until disaster strikes. The checklist covers a step-by-step task list for effective healthcare facility planning.

  2. Ensure you have proper emergency management solutions in place. Blackberry AtHoc creates critical healthcare communication solutions for emergency situations.
Paul Neyman
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