Policy Check: Don't forget about the little guys
3 considerations to help you manage and maintain the new emergency preparedness requirements for smaller healthcare providers and suppliers
In September of 2016 the Federal Register posted the final rule on Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers. The regulation went into effect in November of 2016 and healthcare providers and suppliers falling under this new rule were required to comply by implementing regulations by November of 2017.
Now that a few months have passed, how did your healthcare organization do on implementing these regulations in the affected facilities within your
Prior to learning about these new requirements, many of the affected healthcare providers and suppliers likely had no emergency plans of their own in place and some may have utilized the nearest hospital’s emergency plans in the event of a disaster. Since it had never been a requirement in the past, this strategy was likely never an issue. However, knowing these facilities would now be required to create, implement and maintain emergency operations plans of their own, it may have seemed like a daunting feat.
During our approach to this new policy update with our client facilities, we learned a few things that will hopefully help your healthcare organization manage and maintain these new regulations.
- Through our expertise, we realized that about 80% of the information contained in an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) is relevant across an entire system. This helped with not having to start from scratch when developing plans for the smaller providers and suppliers who may not have had any plans in place. The remaining 20% of an EOP had to be localized; however, gaining the proper information for only 20% of the plans was much more manageable than drafting the entire plan from nothing.
- Communication with the local hospital is key. Acute care hospitals are already accustomed to maintaining and updating EOPs, which means relying on their expertise is extremely beneficial. Keep in mind, those responsible for maintaining and updating these policies for the smaller facilities are likely to have very limited knowledge of regulatory compliance in general. Having an open line of communication will help in making the proper updates and ensuring the smaller facilities affected by this regulation remain compliant.
- It’s more than just having the documentation – it’s also about knowing how to implement it. As with any new policy or regulation, the ultimate purpose behind them is so healthcare facilities remain safe and are prepared in the event a disaster strikes. Regardless the size of the facility, conducting training sessions and drills on a regular basis will only help ensure the EOP in place will be affective in the event a disaster strikes your region.
Watching out for the “little guys” within your healthcare system to make sure they have the proper emergency plans in place will not only assist in maintaining system-wide compliance
, but it will also ensure that if disaster strikes while patients or staff are in those smaller facilities they will know exactly what to do in order to ensure safe operations
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