CMS releases advance guidance for emergency preparedness rule

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published an advanced copy of interpretive guidance for its final emergency preparedness rule for healthcare providers.

The rule, issued last September, applies to all healthcare facilities and will be implemented on Nov. 15. Long-term care providers will have to meet additional standards under the rule, such as having emergency and standby power systems. They must also create plans regarding missing residents that could be activated regardless of whether the facility has activated its full emergency plan.

In a memo posted Friday, CMS shared an advanced copy of a new Appendix Z for the State Operations Manual pertaining to emergency preparedness. The advanced copy will “vary slightly” from the final version, CMS said.

The agency had previously urged providers not to put off planning their emergency training exercises until the guidance was released, noting that waiting for the guidance “is not necessary nor is it advised.”

“The interpretive guidelines and survey procedures in this appendix have been developed to support the adoption of a standard all-hazards emergency preparedness program for all certified providers and suppliers while similarly including appropriate adjustments to address the unique differences of the other providers and suppliers and their patients,” the memo reads.

CMS also stressed that successful adoption of the new requirements will allow all types of healthcare providers “to better anticipate and plan for needs, rapidly respond as a facility, as well as integrate with local public health and emergency management agencies and healthcare coalitions' response activities and rapidly recover following the disaster.”

Click here to see the full copy of the interpretive guidelines.