For most organizations, November 15, 2017, is just another day on the calendar. But, for healthcare providers that must comply with the Congress-approved CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule, it’s potentially doomsday. How so?

Healthcare providers that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements stand to lose this critical funding if their emergency preparedness programs do not meet CMS requirements in four critical areas. These key measurements encompass emergency planning; policies and procedures; communication; and training and testing.

Among the 17 types of healthcare providers that must adhere to the ruling are hospitals, hospices and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). Long-term care (LTC) facilities are also on the list. And, they are under the looking glass given the tragic death of eight patients in a Hollywood, Florida facility after Hurricane Irma.

Government leaders agree with the need for improved emergency preparedness by healthcare organizations. Take Florida Governor, Rick Scott, for example. In a recent statement, which was widely publicized by CNN, he said, “During emergencies, healthcare facilities must be fully prepared to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of those in their care and there is absolutely no excuse not to protect life.”

In this September 16, 2017 statement, Governor Scott went on to say that “pursuant to the emergency action, within the next 60 days, all assisted living facilities (ALFs) and nursing homes must obtain ample resources, including a generator and the appropriate amount of fuel, to sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures for at least 96 hours following a power outage.”

Facilities failing to comply within 60 days of the emergency rules are subject to $1,000-per-day fines and could have their licenses revoked.

Penalties such as this, coupled with the potential loss of Medicare and Medicaid funding due to non-compliance with the CMS ruling, may prove too much for some healthcare providers throughout Florida. And, other states may follow suit as they seek to protect their most vulnerable residents as well.

If your healthcare facility has not taken the necessary steps to ensure its emergency operations plan (EOP) is CMS-compliant, it simply cannot afford to wait any longer. November 15, 2017, is the deadline to submit your program, and there is no extension in sight. Further, enforcement surveying will most likely begin immediately.

Know the requirements of the CMS ruling, get answers to your questions, and look to your local healthcare coalition for guidance. Also, consider outside help like only the planning experts and proven online planning solutions at BOLDplanning can provide.

Download BOLDplanning’s latest White Paper, CMS Emergency Preparedness Final Rule: 10 Reasons Why You Need Online Planning Software for Better Compliance, to learn more now.