Home Health, News, Preparation, Regulations

Could working within your umbrella organization help with emergency prep?

by: A.J. Plunkett


The following is an excerpt from Home Health Line.

If your agency is part of a health care system, there are many benefits to choosing to work with the umbrella organization as you attempt to comply with CMS’ new emergency preparedness requirements.

Even if your agency has a separate Medicare certification number than the overall health system, you can benefit from combining resources on everything from planning and exercises to increased communication and manpower in the event you need help providing care for patients.

But if your agency chooses to work with that umbrella organization, understand that CMS’ requirements make clear you must participate in overall emergency prep planning, conduct your own risk assessment and comply with Conditions of Participation (CoPs) relevant to your provider type.

“Each separately certified facility must be capable of demonstrating during a survey that it can effectively implement the emergency preparedness program and demonstrate compliance with all emergency preparedness requirements at the individual facility level,” CMS states within the interpretive guidelines in the new Appendix Z of CMS’ State Operations Manual. “Compliance with the emergency preparedness requirements is the individual responsibility of each separately certified facility.”

This is the case as well with revisions to The Joint Commission’s Emergency Management chapters of accreditation standards for home health agencies, hospitals, critical access hospitals and ambulatory health care providers.

CMS’ emergency prep requirements took effect Nov. 15. Agencies in noncompliance could be cited on a survey.