The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued revised guidance on emergency preparedness exercise requirements to provide additional clarification due to the continuing COVID-19 public health emergency.
CMS’ emergency preparedness regulations require facilities to conduct exercises to test their emergency preparedness plans to ensure they work and that staff are trained appropriately. During or after an actual emergency, the regulations allow for a one-year exemption from the requirement that the facility perform testing exercises. This exemption applies only to the next required full-scale exercise (not the exercise of choice), based on the facility’s 12-month exercise cycle. The cycle is determined by the facility (e.g., calendar, fiscal or another 12-month time frame).
Because many facilities continue to operate under their respective activated emergency plans, CMS is providing additional guidance related to the exercise requirements (full-scale/functional drills and exercises) for inpatient providers and suppliers.
The revised emergency preparedness surveyor worksheet presents guidance for surveyors, as well as providers and suppliers, in assessing a facility’s compliance with the emergency preparedness requirements.
The updated guidance applies only if a facility is still currently operating under its activated emergency plan.