Colorado Assisted Living providers work on an incident command exercise in Pueblo in April.CMS Proposes National Requirement
for Emergency Readiness
The Obama administration is proposing federal requirements for Medicare and Medicaid providers to come up with standardized emergency plans.
Download and review the proposed requirements here.
In a notice of proposed rulemaking published late Friday, the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services (CMS) says it wants providers to “ensure that they adequately plan for both natural and man-made disasters and coordinate with federal, state, tribal, regional, and local emergency preparedness systems. The proposed rules “would also ensure that these providers and suppliers are adequately prepared to meet the needs of patients, residents, clients, and participants during disaster and emergency situations" The elderly suffer the worst during disasters, data have shown, and nursing homes from California to New York can offer grim testimony on how the stress of evacuations alone can be fatal to their residents. In Louisiana, about 71 percent of those who died following Hurricane Katrina were 60 years or older; about half of those who died after Hurricane Sandy struck New York were 65 or older. After Sandy did her worst in New York, groups such as the Gerontological Society of America called for a more forward-thinking approach to saving seniors from disasters.“We don’t have continuity in the disaster infrastructure for older adults,” society member and University of South Florida Professor Lisa Brown said at the time. “Our efforts tend to be more reactive post-disaster than proactive pre-disaster.” Despite the consensus around the need for comprehensive disaster planning and training for the elderly, there may yet be concerns about the specifics in CMS’ proposal. The long term care profession is already subject to a Borgesian library’s worth of regulations undefined more rules even than nuclear power plants. CMS says it’s considering “preparedness requirements that 17 provider and supplier types must meet to participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs.” The proposed rules would tweak existing rules, CMS says, without elaborating further. “Despite these variations, our proposed regulations would provider generally consistent emergency preparedness requirements, enhance patient safety during emergencies for persons served by Medicare- and Medicaid-participating facilities, and establish a more coordinated and defined response to natural and man-made disasters,” CMS says in its rulemaking notice. Long term care advocates are reviewing CMS’ proposed rules and will be “developing comments” of its own, says Lyn Bentley, senior director of the American Health Care Association’s regulatory services. Comments on CMS’ proposed rules are due by Feb. 25.
OSHA Fines New Jersey NH $50,000.00
OSHA has cited a New Jersey Nursing Home nearly $50,000 for workplace safety violations that include excessive heat in the laundry, failing to ensure workers wore appropriate eye protection; failing to ensure easy access to a sharps container; failing to correct exposed wires from an industrial washer; failing to provide suitable eyewash facilities, lack of complete bloodborne pathogen training, lack of Hepatitis B vaccines, lack of effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in the workplace; improperly using flexible electrical (extension) cords, improperly labeled hazardous chemical containers; failure to develop a written hazard communication program; and failure to have material safety data sheets and safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical used in the workplace.
This again serves as a reminder that OSHA is aggressively pursuing long term care facilities, and the need to make certain that your safety program is complete throughout.
CoHCA Issues Press Release On OIG Report 4-18-2012
Colorado Ahead of the Curve In Emergency Preparedness for Nursing Homes
The recent Denver Post reporting of the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Gaps Continue to Exist in Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness and Response During Disasters: 2007-2010 Report (OEI-06-09-00270), emphasizes the importance of all health care facilities to be prepared for any and all emergencies and disasters.
“Colorado is well ahead of the emergency preparedness curve to adequately care for the frail elderly and disabled we serve,” said David Skipper, Vice President Emergency Management, for the Colorado Health Care Association and Center for Assisted Living. Skipper has more than 35 years of experience in crisis management, nuclear, biological and chemical domestic preparedness, incident command and clinical implications of weapons of mass destruction.
Extensive and ongoing education and practical capability training in emergency preparedness and response is being provided to nursing homes and assisted living residences in Colorado through a partnership between Colorado Health Care Association (CoHCA) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). CoHCA is facilitating the grant from Department of Health and Human Services to provide National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) training to every nursing home in Colorado, provide 4 statewide emergency preparedness and management courses to all assisted living communities in Colorado and revise the CDPHE Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) toolkits for nursing homes and assisted living facilities to be more user-friendly to long term care providers.
“It is important that our frail elders and disabled are not last on the priority list for evacuation, as happened with Katrina”. Skipper said.
CoHCA in partnership with the Center for Integrated Disaster Preparedness (CIDP) at the University of Colorado School of Medicine serves Colorado Healthcare providers through offering free trainings across the state. These trainings focus on creating comprehensive and integrated healthcare response systems and include ICS for Healthcare, Hazard Vulnerablity and resource sharing as well as specific trainings which work to build capability in the healthcare partner communities including Nursing Homes, Home Healthcare and Health clinics. The director, Dr. Kreisberg, and the Medical Director Dr. Little have extensive experience building collaborative systems for the delivery of healthcare in a disaster.
“Colorado continues to sit on the fray of disaster planning through a system of carefully crafted deliverables, and integrated planning and response trainings and exercises” says Dr. Kreisberg.
The Center will offer a two-day symposium to invited public policy makers and emergency mamangement administrators to enter into a dialogue address the furture direction of Emergency Management in Colorado “Navigating Complex Change: Creating Continuity in Health Care Emergency Response and Recovery” June 6-7, 2012.
Nursing homes in Colorado are regularly performing full evacuation drills with community partners, identifying successes, challenges and documenting the results through each subsequent exercise and debriefing.
Facilities should review CMS’ Emergency Preparedness checklist and use it to cross-check facility disaster preparedness plans and training with their community.
CHCA continues to work with CDPHE and other coalitions on emergency planning and preparedness issues to insure the safety and well-being of Colorado nursing home residents, staff and families.