If your healthcare organization is like many across the U.S., this date has been circled on the calendar ever since the Congress-approved CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule took effect this time last year. And, for good reason. By not complying with the ruling, you might  lose crucial Medicare and Medicaid funding, which could prove disastrous for your government-supported facility.

With less than ten days to go, where do you stand with meeting the four basic requirements – Emergency Plan, Policies and Procedures, Communications, and Training and Testing – as identified in the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule? Hopefully, A-OK, as compliance surveying is slated to begin almost immediately.

Ask yourself these important questions before someone else does:

  • Does our Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), as required by The Joint Commission, cover all potential hazards, i.e., natural and human-caused?
  • Have we done everything possible to mitigate the risks to patient safety and the continuity of operations in an emergency? And, can we prove if challenged by surveyors, patients, patient families, the community, or the media, as in the case of the Hollywood Hills, FL facility post Hurricane Irma?
  • Can we communicate the key elements of our EOP to others, especially the compliance surveyors who will surely come?
  • Is our EOP fully tested, documented and up to date? And, are there measures in place to review and revise it on a regular basis?
  • Is our EOP available to key stakeholders and/or surveyors at a moment’s notice?

If you cannot answer yes to all of these questions, your healthcare facility may have a problem. And, unfortunately, there may not be enough time to correct it before the November 15 deadline.

Stop procrastinating and review the requirements of the ruling now. Call an emergency meeting to discuss your facility’s EOP, and invite your local healthcare coalition to take part. Test what you can as fast as you can, but know that a full-scale, or even tabletop exercise, may not be feasible at this late juncture.

Make notations for improvement to the existing EOP, as these (at a minimum) will demonstrate that you’re actively working toward compliance. Last, but not least, cross your fingers that your facility is not among the first to be surveyed, as you will probably fall short and face the consequences. Hopefully, these consequences will not prove to be too costly before you can get your facility up to speed with the ruling.

A quick download of of BOLDplanning’s latest White Paper, CMS Emergency Preparedness Final Rule: 10 Reasons Why You Need Online Planning Software for Better Compliance, may prove helpful as well.

BOLDplanning, currently the emergency planning vendor of choice to more than 9,300 public and private sector organizations nationwide, is assisting healthcare organizations like yours comply with the ruling and achieve the highest degree of readiness possible. Need help now? Just email info@boldplanning.com.