BNA’s Health Care Daily Report™ sets the standard for reliable, high-intensity coverage of breaking health care news, covering all major legal, policy, industry, and consumer developments in a...
By James Swann
Sept. 8 — Hospitals and other providers will have to meet four best-practice standards for handling natural and man-made disasters, including developing a comprehensive emergency plan and instituting employee training programs, according to a federal final rule released Sept. 8.
Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers also will have to develop and implement policies and procedures and establish a communications plan to coordinate patient care with state and local health departments.
The final rule (RIN:0938-AO91) was necessary because existing disaster management plans don't go far enough in ensuring the safety of patients and staff in case of disaster, especially in light of events such as 2012's Hurricane Sandy and 2014's Ebola outbreak, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said.
Greg Crist, a senior vice president with the American Health Care Association, told Bloomberg BNA the implementation date for the final rule is Nov. 15, 2017, and is an indication the CMS recognizes the challenges that some providers may have to develop the systems and processes that the rule requires.
Crist said the AHCA had just begun to review the final rule and couldn't respond to the potential burdens or impacts it might have on nursing homes. AHCA represents about 12,000 not-for-profit and for-profit nursing homes across the country.
The final rule will be published in the Sept. 16 Federal Register. It is intended to protect the health-care system by establishing consistent ground rules for handling any disaster situations.
In addition to the best-practice standards, the final rule gives hospitals some flexibility with the installation of new generators, and doesn't require the relocation of existing generators. Additionally, the final rule didn't include additional generator testing, as was originally proposed. The CMS said there was no evidence that extra testing would improve a facility's ability to handle a disaster.
“Situations like the recent flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, remind us that in the event of an emergency, the first priority of health care providers and suppliers is to protect the health and safety of their patients,” CMS Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway said in a Sept. 8 statement.
The CMS proposed the rule in late 2013 and noted that some of the deaths that resulted from Hurricane Katrina could have been avoided if emergency preparedness measures had been in place for Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers (246 HCDR, 12/23/13).
Ashley Thompson, a senior vice president with the American Hospital Association, told Bloomberg BNA the association was pleased that the CMS “has taken a commonsense approach to ensuring patients continue to be cared for in times of disaster.”
All Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers will be required to carry out risk assessments that cover all natural and man-made disasters likely to occur in their regions. Risk assessments will cover situations such as equipment and power failures, loss of communications due to cyberattacks and the destruction of the facility itself.
Once the risk assessment has been done, providers and suppliers will then be responsible for crafting policies and procedures to implement an emergency response plan, as well as training employees on the plan. Training will be required on annual basis, in addition to periodic emergency drills.
All providers and suppliers will also be required to develop a communications plan to ensure patient care coordination at the facility level, with other health-care providers and with state and local health-care agencies. Patients often have to be moved in a disaster situation, and the final rule stressed the importance of ensuring continuity of care where ever the patient goes.
To contact the reporter on this story: James Swann in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kendra Casey Plank at firstname.lastname@example.org
The CMS final rule is at http://src.bna.com/ip1.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)