Are You Ready For The New Emergency Communication Law Headed Your Way?

by Lisa Eifert on February 14th, 2017

The countdown is officially on for all Medicare and Medicaid healthcare providers and suppliers. If you’re asking yourself, “Countdown to what?” you’re not alone. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with the scoop on a forthcoming emergency communication law with the potential to dramatically impact your organization’s emergency preparedness when it takes effect in November of 2017. Here’s the rundown.

CMS is Changing the Game

From natural disasters to man-made tragedies, today’s healthcare organizations live under the looming threat of catastrophe. And according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), many of these entities are currently armed with alarmingly inadequate emergency preparedness plans.

But not for long, thanks to a new regulations from CMS. Dubbed Conditions of Participation (CoPs), the rule seeks to ensure that all Medicare and Medicaid healthcare provider participants have consistent, comprehensive emergency plans in place. Why? Because according to CMS Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, M.D., MSc., “Situations like the recent flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, remind us that in the event of an emergency, the first priority of health care providers and suppliers is to protect the health and safety of their patients. Preparation, planning, and one comprehensive approach for emergency preparedness is key. One life lost is one too many.”

Four Core Components

Specifically, CoPs sets forth best practices for disaster preparedness across four main areas. A top priority alongside emergency planning, policies and procedures, and training and testing? Communication planning. In short, all Medicare and Medicaid healthcare providers will now be required to “develop and maintain a communication plan that complies with both Federal and State law.” Furthermore, CoPs insists, “Patient care must be well-coordinated within the facility, across health care providers, and with State and local public health departments and emergency systems.”

All of which begs the question: Given the significant nature of these changes, how best can you position your organization for compliance?

While November may feel like it’s eons away, the truth is that it will be here before you know it. If you’re aiming to get ahead of the game—not just  in terms of meeting the CoPs standards, but also toward the higher purpose of safeguarding your organization and its reputation should the unthinkable occur—don’t miss our complete guide to navigating CoPs’s communication component, “What All Healthcare Organizations Need to Know About CMS’s New Emergency Communication Law.”

 To learn more, check out our article, Crisis Leadership and Emergency Response

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