CMS wants tougher emergency prep rules

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CMS believes more robust preparedness guidelines would help improve resident safety in emergencies.
CMS believes more robust preparedness guidelines would help improve resident safety in emergencies.

Long-term care facilities would have to meet more comprehensive emergency preparedness guidelines if a newly proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is enacted.

Events such as Hurricane Katrina have shown that emergency preparedness requirements for Medicare and Medicaid-certified  providers need to be more robust, according to the proposed rule issued Dec. 27. 

Long-term care facilities would be subject to similar requirements as those proposed for hospitals, such as tracking the location of staff and patients, and ensuring that medical records are “secure and available” in an emergency. 

LTC-specific requirements include accounting for missing residents during a disaster, determining what emergency planning information should be shared with residents and families, and evaluating the need for chargers or outlets for items such as motorized wheelchairs.