Start Here: Hospital CMS Emergency Preparedness
You may be feeling overwhelmed by the hospital CMS Emergency Preparedness requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers issued last year. CMS expects all healthcare providers affected by this rule to comply by November 16, 2017.
Not only is the timeframe short, but the task looms large. Preparation for successful hospital emergency management is complicated — but manageable. Let’s start by breaking hospital emergency preparedness into the four required elements:
- Emergency plan
- Policies and procedures
- Communications plan
- Training and testing
The first element is preparedness planning: development of your emergency management plan. And a comprehensive emergency management plan consists of at least three parts:
- An Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) — An EOP describes how your organization and partners will respond to and recover from a disaster or emergency event.
- A Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) — A COOP helps ensure the continuity of patient care during a longer-term event.
- A Crisis Communications Plan — A crisis communication plan enables medical professionals and emergency response personnel to maintain communications and coordinate activities throughout a crisis situation.
So where do you start? Here are a few key steps:
- Identify risks and hazards: Hazard vulnerability analysis (HVA) helps hospitals self-assess readiness to respond to four incident categories: natural disasters, infrastructure failures, security risks and mass casualty events. For each hazard that is relevant to your facility, you will identify the human, property and business impact and the likelihood of the hazard.
- Prepare your team members: Job action sheets (JAS) are developed in compliance with the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) to guide the incident commander and other team members by outlining specific steps that should be taken by each role in response to each type of emergency event.
- Understand your resources and prepare your contacts database: A contacts database will store a ready-list of all essential personnel inside and outside the hospital for use during an emergency. Contact information should include skillsets, licenses, certifications and cross-trained skills as well as multiple modes of reaching someone (i.e., text, email, cellphone, landline). Messages and responses can be prepared in advance to individuals and groups. Beyond your facility, contacts should include resources such as suppliers, first responders, neighboring hospitals, local emergency preparedness officials, your state public health department and other coalition and community partners.
- Set up training exercises and drills: Training exercises test the emergency operations plan to identify gaps for improvement and to prepare new and existing personnel for readiness. There’s no need to build these from scratch; you can start with editable drills for discussion-based scenarios and live role-playing exercises.
You can learn more about what is and is not required for hospital CMS Emergency Preparedness in these FAQs from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (PDF).
Read the first post in a multi-part primer on each of the four key requirements of the CMS emergency preparedness rule: emergency plan, policies and procedures, communication plan, and training and testing program.
Terry Zysk, CEO of LiveProcess, has more than two decades of experience in leading organizations that provide innovative solutions to the healthcare industry.