New Emergency Preparedness Requirements Implement Nov. 15, 2017

By Caralyn Davis, Staff Writer - October 12, 2016

On Sept. 15, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule establishing consistent national emergency-preparedness requirements for Medicare- and Medicaid-participating providers and suppliers to increase patient safety during emergencies and establish a more coordinated response to natural and manmade disasters. The requirements are conditions of participation (CoPs) for 17 provider types, including skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities.

These regulations are effective on Nov. 15, 2016, but providers have one year—until Nov. 15, 2017—to comply with the regulations. Facilities will not be surveyed on these requirements until after the implementation deadline of Nov. 15, 2017. However, that’s a hard deadline: No waivers will be granted to any providers, so the time for planning is now. Facilities that are found to be noncompliant in surveys that occur after Nov. 15, 2017, will be subject to the same general process of enforcement that occurs when other CoPs are found out of compliance, such as termination of the provider agreement.