CMS Issues Requirements for Emergency Preparedness

CMS Issues Requirements for Emergency Preparedness

Effective on November 16, 2016


On September 8, 2016 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule to establish consistent emergency preparedness requirements for health care providers and suppliers participating in Medicare and Medicaid. The Emergency Preparedness Rule will focus on increasing patient safety during emergencies and establishing a more coordinated response to natural and man-made disasters.


The purpose of the Emergency Preparedness Rule is to establish national emergency preparedness requirements to ensure adequate planning for both natural and man-made disasters, and coordination with federal, state, tribal, regional and local emergency preparedness systems. The following information will apply upon publication of the final rule:


  • Requirements will apply to all 17 provider and supplier types.
  • Each provider and supplier will have its own set of Emergency Preparedness regulations incorporated into its set of conditions or requirements for certification.
  • Must be in compliance with Emergency Preparedness regulations to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid program.
Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers are not required to comply with many of the requirements for hospitals (e.g. provide patient information during an evacuation). However, these facilities must, among other requirements, conduct a risk assessment and include policies and procedures in their communication plan to share patient information during an emergency with other local facilities.


Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) must follow similar regulations as other hospitals including:


  • Having a communication plan that includes information for other CAHs and hospitals or both.
  • Documenting the specific name and location of the receiving facility or other location for patients who leave the facility during the emergency.
  • Complying with current generator testing requirements (no additional testing would be mandated).
  • Having a plan for how it will keep emergency power systems operational during the emergency, unless it evacuates.
Health care providers and suppliers affected by this rule must comply and implement all regulations one year after the effective date, on November 16, 2017.


For more information, please see The Emergency Preparedness Rule on the CMS website. If you have any additional questions, contact Sarah Craig at
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