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CMS Proposed Rule: Emergency Preparedness Standards for LTC

In the December 27, 2013 Federal Register, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule regarding emergency planning requirements for long term care facilities as well as other providers and suppliers. This new rule would establish national emergency preparedness requirements based on a system of four standards. These four standards include:

  • An Emergency Plan that is developed based on a risk assessment that uses an “all hazards” approach
  • A set of Policies and Procedures that are based on the risk assessment and emergency plan developed by the facility
  • A Communication Plan that helps ensure patient care is well-coordinated and complies with both Federal and State regulations
  • A requirement that Training and Testing Programs are put into place, including initial testing and training for the program as well as annual testing that should include drills/exercises

The rule references multiple reports that were completed after disasters that occurred in different areas of the country, providing evidence that a national standard for disaster planning should be in place. An April 2013 report by the OIG One report discussed the gaps in nursing home emergency training and response in disaster situations, which we discussed in our post, “Sandy’s Reminder about Skilled Nursing Facility Disaster Prep.”

The comment period for this rule is open until February 25, 2014.