The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have established emergency preparedness rules for hospitals, nursing homes and home health care providers.

Health care facilities have to be prepared for emergencies and disasters of all kinds. Floods, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, nuclear attacks and terrorist attacks are some of the challenges health care facilities may have to face.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have established emergency preparedness rules for hospitals, nursing homes and home health care providers. The CMS regulates these facilities and if they take care of Medicare patients, they have to comply with CMS emergency preparedness rules, said Sherry Besser, safety officer for Pratt Regional Medical Center.
Besser said PRMC will be working with the facilities in their organization: Pratt Rehabilitation and Residence Center and Pratt Home Health Agency based out of PRMC.
The facilities use the plan to conduct drills and exercises in response to the various emergency situations that may arise. The hospital held an active shooter drill in October as part of their emergency plan. They worked with local law enforcement, sheriff's office, police department, emergency planner and Emergency Medical Services on the drills.
"We want to make sure we have a coordinated response," Besser said.
Drills are mandatory and two a year are required. One drill has to be a full scale drill working with Pratt County Emergency Manager Tim Branscom. The drill tests the resources and responses for hazards and threats in the exercise.
"We look at reducing the consequences of a disaster. That's why we exercise the plan," Besser said.
One change that has come out of these drills is the announcement of the event in plain language. In the past, color codes were used, such as Code Red for fire, but now those announcements are done in plain language so everyone, including the public, knows what is happening.
The regulations went into effect in November 2016. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will conduct a survey of hospitals, nursing homes and home health care providers in November 2017 to determine if they are in compliance with the new regulations.
The emergency preparedness regulations are updated regularly and address the various emergency situations that health care facilities may face. The latest regulations provide more details to clarify the various roles for each health care provider in the event of a disaster, Besser said.
"They are making sure we have an effective plan for emergencies," Besser said.
A goal of the regulations is to help the health care facilities mitigate the severity or the consequences for a disaster or emergency.
While the health care facilities are required to meet the CMS regulations, they do not receive any additional reimbursement for compliance.
Besser said PRMC would be working with regional, state and local planners to make sure they are prepared for the survey in November.