November 20, 2018
What Snow Means For SNFs

First signs of winter put the spotlight on emergency preparation

Here’s the latest on CMS regulations for long-term care

If the recent snowstorm is any indication of the 2018-2019 winter season, we’re in for a frosty ride! As commuters sat stuck in bus terminals, crowded on train platforms and gridlocked on highways across New York and New Jersey on Thursday, November 15th, industry insiders took a moment to reflect on an upcoming deadline related to emergency plans for nursing homes and similar facilities.

Back in September, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a proposal, which sought to ease administrative burdens surrounding disaster-relief regulation. Eliminating red tape has always been a key objective across all aspects of the skilled nursing industry. But in light of November Nor’easter Avery, long-term care advocates are reexamining the proposal to ensure no patients will be put at risk.

 

What Snow Means For SNFs

 

Will Avery affect LTC leaders?

Despite hours of excruciating traffic, adults and childrenacross the Tristate finally made it home from work andschool. Luckily, there were no reported fatalities in New Yorkor New Jersey as a result of the unexpected storm, but thesituation puts further stress on nursing home spokespeople,including those from LeadingAge, in the coming week.

The deadline to respond to the CMS proposal is Monday, November 19th. At that time, LeadingAge advocates plan to voice opposition to officials’ plan to eliminate required documentation of community contact [local/regional officials] and to loosen up on mandatory annual staff training in emergency response. They feel these changes will ultimately harm patients, especially given nursing homes’ poor rap when it comes to disaster preparedness.

On the other hand, the group gives a confident thumbs up to eliminating the requirement for annual emergency plan review. Time spent on red tape procedure and paperwork can be better utilized enhancing the individual facility’s actual plan. Also, LeadingAge supports more flexibility in how administrators choose to execute training. With the ability to customize emergency response to their specific needs, facilities will hopefully restore their tarnished reputations in this care category.

So, as we look back on the snowy panic of the big November blizzard, remember the importance of emergency planning and training—no matter how safe your environment may seem. If one botched forecast is capable of bringing an entire region to its knees, there’s no knowing what damage we can inflict with a lax approach to preparedness. If this issue is of great importance to you and your staff, consider commenting on CMS’s proposed rule at

Regulations.gov