CMS Releases Interpretative Guidelines for Emergency Preparedness Final Rule

June 16, 2017

Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released interpretative guidelines for the final rule that establishes emergency preparedness regulations for hospitals and other health care providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid.

As reported in a previous issue of The Valued Voice, the new requirements of the emergency preparedness final rule, which was published last fall, include the development and implementation of an emergency plan, a communications plan, policies and procedures, and a training and testing program. These new requirements must be implemented by November 15, 2017.

CMS’s interpretative guidelines are intended to clarify and establish survey procedures for the new regulations. In addition, the guidelines reiterate language from the final rule that regional health care coalitions may have technical expertise and resources that may be useful to health care organizations in meeting some of the new emergency preparedness requirements. Wisconsin has seven regional coalitions that receive funding through the Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Program (WHEPP) for health emergency planning and response. WHEPP is a federally grant-funded, state program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services that supports emergency preparedness planning and response for hospitals and other health care organizations.

If you have questions regarding emergency preparedness or the CMS emergency preparedness final rule, contact Andrew Brenton, WHA assistant general counsel, at 608-274-1820 or

This story originally appeared in the June 16, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter