According to the current issue of The Voice, “On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule impacting a wide range of Medicare providers that includes revisions to the new emergency preparedness regulations. According to a CMS press release, the proposed rule is part of the agency’s efforts to ‘relieve burden on healthcare providers by removing unnecessary, obsolete or excessively burdensome Medicare compliance requirements for healthcare facilities.’ The emergency preparedness requirements are targeted for rollback even though they were only implemented less than a year ago.
“A preliminary review by Consumer Voice shows that most changes involve a reduction in the frequency with which nursing homes must perform certain activities. For instance, the facility would only have to review and update its emergency preparedness plan, policies and procedures, communication plan, and training and testing program at least every two years instead of annually. In addition, after providing initial training, the facility would be required to provide emergency preparedness training at least every 2 years instead of every year.
“As the country watches the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence, Consumer Voice is concerned that the proposed revisions will make nursing homes less ready when disaster strikes and subject residents to greater danger. In addition, significant turnover rates among both staff and administration in nursing homes raise concerns about staff readiness if emergency preparedness training is extended to every two years.
“To read the proposed rules released for public inspection prior to their publication in the Federal Register, click here.”