CMS Issues New Emergency Preparedness Rule

CMS Issues New Emergency Preparedness Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new emergency preparedness requirements for all health care facilities in a final rule that takes effect 60 days subsequent to its publication to the Federal Register, scheduled for 9/16/2016. The new CMS rule applies to 17 different provider types, including hospitals, critical access hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, hospices, mental health and long-term care facilities, and rural health clinics.

The comprehensive rule is 650 pages long and sets up a detailed list of requirements that hospitals must follow as they “develop and maintain a comprehensive emergency preparedness program that is reviewed and updated annually”.  Emergency plans must be documented, facility based and include a community based risk assessment that incorporates any and all hazards.

Of particular interest to facilities managers

The new CMS rule provides line by line requirements for the emergency preparedness plans and the mandatory sections that include policies and procedures, communications plans, training and testing. According to CMS, some of the specific requirements include:

  • Policies and procedures must include specific plans that address everything from the provision of food and water for staff, to alternative sources of energy to provide emergency lighting, fire detection, extinguishing, and alarm systems.

  • Communications plans must detail the hospital's ability and means to “provide information about the hospital's occupancy, needs, and its ability to provide assistance.”

  • Annual training and testing must include testing of emergency and standby power systems, emergency generators, and a plan for how the hospital will keep emergency power systems operational during the emergency”

Hospitals that are part of a larger healthcare system must demonstrate that they have participated in the formulation of the system’s emergency preparedness plan, and that they are capable of actively implementing and complying with it.

ATG is reviewing the rule in detail and will keep you updated on the application of our solutions to meet these requirements.

This is the final rule on emergency preparedness and includes comments on the initial rule that was issued in December of 2013. Requirements specific to hospitals are included in Part 482, and can be found on page 584 of the rule.

The unpublished document is currently available in PDF form at For further information on the new requirements, visit


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