Final emergency preparedness rule for providers on its way

The rule includes special provisions for LTC since it's "unlike many of the inpatient care providers," CMS said
The rule includes special provisions for LTC since it's "unlike many of the inpatient care providers," CMS said

The White House Office of Budget and Management completed a review Monday of a rule that could update emergency preparedness requirements for Medicare and Medicaid providers.

The update, first proposed as a response to deaths that occurred in healthcare facilities during Hurricane Katrina, would require providers to “adequately plan for both natural and [manmade] disasters,” according to reginfo.gov. Final action on the rule is expected in late December.

The rule's provisions include requirements for all providers to track the location of staff and patients, and ensure that medical records are “secure and available” in the event of an emergency.

Long-term care providers would be also be held to additional requirements under the rule, such as choosing what emergency planning information should be shared with residents and families, accounting for missing residents during emergencies, and considering power needs for residents who require wheelchairs or CPAP machines.

“ … Long-term care facilities are unlike many of the inpatient care providers. Due to the long-term nature of their stays, these facilities essentially become the residents' residences,” CMS noted in the original proposed rule. “We believe this changes the nature of the relationship and duty to the residents and their families or representatives.”

The rule arrived at the OMB in November along with the recently implemented fire safety updates for long-term care.