Providers and suppliers that participate in Medicare and Medicaid must comply with a new final emergency preparedness rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The final rule, implemented Nov. 15, 2017, outlines four core elements that must be followed as part of a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan. These include:

  • Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning. Facilities must perform a risk assessment that uses an ‘‘all-hazards’’ approach prior to establishing an emergency plan. The assessment includes hazards likely in a geographic area, care-related emergencies, equipment and power failures, interruption in communications, loss of all or a portion of facility, and loss of all or a portion of supplies. The all-hazards risk assessment will be used to identify essential components to be integrated into the facility’s emergency plan. This plan must be reviewed and updated at least annually.
  • Policies and Procedures. Facilities must develop and implement policies and procedures that support the successful execution of the emergency plan and risks identified during the risk assessment process. They should make provisions for the subsistence of staff and residents, whether they evacuate or shelter in place. Policies and procedures also should include a system of medical documentation that preserves resident information, protects confidentiality, and secures and maintains the availability of records. 
  •  Communication Plan. During an emergency, it is critical that all providers and suppliers have a system to contact appropriate staff, as well as patients’ treating physicians and other necessary persons in a timely manner to ensure a continuation of patient care safely throughout the facilities. The plan must be well-coordinated within the facility, across health care providers, and with state and local public health departments and emergency management agencies.
  • Training and Testing. Facilities must develop a well-organized, effective training program that includes initial training for new and existing staff in emergency preparedness policies and procedures, as well as annual refresher trainings. The facility must offer annual emergency preparedness training so that staff can demonstrate knowledge of emergency procedures. The facility must also conduct drills and exercises to test the emergency plan to identify gaps and areas for improvement, including one community-based full-scale exercise and one other exercise.

View the guidance at​.​