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Health Law Advisory Brief: Coronavirus Prompts Cms To Remind Hospitals And Others Of Emergency Preparedness Regulations

on Friday, 6 March 2020 in Health Law Advisory: Zachary J. Buxton, Editor

The worldwide spread of coronavirus prompted the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) to issue a reminder to all Medicare providers and suppliers of their responsibilities to consider “emerging infectious diseases” under their emergency preparedness plans.

In September 2016, CMS released final emergency preparedness regulations that require nearly all Medicare providers and suppliers to develop and maintain emergency preparedness plans. The regulations further require the plans be reviewed and updated at least every two years.  

In a February 2019 memo, CMS added planning for “emerging infectious disease”, such as influenza, Ebola, and Zika, that must be addressed in a provider or supplier’s emergency preparedness plan. Later that same year, CMS amended Appendix Z of the State Operations Manual to state that such planning may require “modifications to facility protocols to protect the health and safety of patients, such as isolation and personal protective equipment (PPE) measures.”

In the February 6, 2020 memo published in the midst of the emerging coronavirus, CMS encouraged providers to review information published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including the resources listed below, and for all providers and suppliers to review their protocols for “appropriate PPE” and the availability of PPE, such as gloves, gowns, respirators, and eye protection.

Baird Holm LLP will continue to provide updates in the Health Law Advisory in the event CMS publishes any additional information with respect to updating emergency preparedness plans.  

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