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CMS waives some emergency training requirements due to PHE

CMS is waiving requirements for large-scale emergency preparedness testing for agencies that have activated their emergency plans during the public health emergency (PHE). But some agencies may still have to complete another important emergency training task before the end of the year.

Agencies that were due for an “exercise of choice” (see below) in 2020 will want to make sure it is completed by the end of the year, CMS reminds in a memo released Sept. 29, 2020.

Every other year, agencies are required to participate in a community-based full-scale exercise (if available) or conduct an individual facility-based “functional exercise” that looks at multiple aspects of the agency’s emergency response, including plans, policies and procedures, along with staff involved.

Facilities that demonstrate through written documentation that they activated their emergency plan this year are exempt from the next required full-scale or functional exercise.

In the opposite year of the full-scale exercise, CMS requires that agencies conduct an “exercise of choice.” That can include one of the larger exercises above, or it could involve a more targeted mock disaster drill, tabletop exercise or workshop focused on one aspect of the emergency plan.

For more information on emergency plan training, visit https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-41-all.pdf.