CMS Increases Emergency Preparedness Interpretive Guidelines
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May 19, 2021
Ohio Health Care Association
Emergencies may strike at any time and with no warning. They come in all shapes and sizes. Today it must be a priority for facilities to ensure adequate emergency preparation. CMS recently issued QSO-21-15 providing comprehensive update of Appendix Z for the Federal Emergency Preparedness requirements. CMS expanded the surveyor guidance on planning for emerging infectious diseases, including lessons learned, best practices and planning bearing in mind the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Some of the other updated guidance on the following issues:
• Updated considerations of risk assessment
• Staffing for emergencies and for surge
• On-going monitoring of CDC and other public health agencies, which may issue event-specific guidance and recommendations to healthcare workers during emergencies
• Expanded surveyor guidance to ensure Life Safety Code and health surveyors communicate/collaborate surrounding potential deficiencies for alternate source energy including the use of portable generators
• Clarified expectations surrounding documentation of the emergency program.
• Updated practices related to reporting of facility needs, facility’s ability to provide assistance and occupancy
• Increasing the flexibility for the testing requirement so that one of the two annually required testing exercises may be an exercise of the facility’s choice
• Provided clarifications related to testing exercise exemptions when a provider/supplier experiences an actual emergency event.
Kenneth Daily, LNHA, OHCA Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair will discuss at a high level the new survey guidance and run through a checklist to help facilities prepare and ensure emergency plans are complete.
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