The Evaluation

Lesson 3: Topic 8 of 9

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Let’s look at emergency preparedness demands placed on the medical sector, one of the highest regulated industries in America. In 2016, and again in 2019, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandated emergency preparedness requirements for all healthcare entities accepting their funding. This requirement means that facilities must have adequate plans in place for natural and man-made disasters. All aspects of the entity need to  be covered, from computers and other support systems, to utilities, food and water, supplies, and means of providing uninterrupted direct care to patients/clients/residents. Each aspect of operations must be assessed for the amount of disruption of services potentially caused by all the types of dangers, plus making a determination about the likelihood of each danger happening. At the west Texas facility described in the introduction, for instance, there’s a high probability of tornadoes and fires, but not monsoons and floods. Acts of terrorism are required to be addressed, but no other form of workplace violence is.

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The Office of Inspector General (OIG) is the federal watchdog which, among other things, monitors emergency preparedness on behalf of CMS. In the summer of 2022, the OIG surveyed 154 entities in eight states. Out of that sample, 150 were out of compliance in a total of 2,233 areas. About half of those noncompliance issues had to do with failure to do adequate emergency preparedness. Based on the OIG’s report, CMS is exploring broadening some of its requirements on businesses which accept its funding.