News, Skilled Nursing Facility

Providers encouraged to participate in new emergency preparedness surveyor training

On September 1, CMS announced in a memo the release of the emergency preparedness (EP) online training course for surveyors, who will begin surveying for requirements on November 15, 2017. All surveyors are required to take this course; newly hired surveyors will take the course during their State Survey Agency orientation; and providers are encouraged to participate in the training course as well, which includes:

  • Quizzes and exercises to measure understanding of EP requirements
  • Questions that surveyors will ask to determine compliance
  • How documentation will be reviewed and checked
  • Links to resources and glossary terms

Click here to begin the training course.

The EP final rule was released on September 16, 2016, and impacts SNFs but does not affect assisted living facilities. Interpretive guidelines were released on June 2, 2017.

Anthony Cirillo, FACHE, ABC, President of The Aging Experience, provides two cost-effective strategies to help facilities become compliant before surveys begin. His first recommendation seconds CMS’ urgings that facilities should utilize collaboration as a crutch: “Coordination with other providers and government entities is key. I would suggest that facilities form a task force to develop one comprehensive set of policies.”

One way to share policies with other providers facing similar needs is to join a Health Care Coalition (HCC). Currently there are 26,271 HCC members nationwide, a 63% increase in the past two years. Twenty-eight percent of skilled nursing facilities are members of a HCC.

Secondly, Cirillo recommends: “Automate as much of this as possible. In other words, create training modules that can be done once, used as online training, and can be used at orientation. Make it seamless for employees to access, view, and be tested.”