To help you put the final touches on your CMS Emergency Preparedness Guidelines by the November 2017 deadline, we spoke with J. Robert “Bob” McKee, D.Sc.(c), MBA from Boston University. He provided some key takeaways from the CMS Interpretive Guidelines. McKee has an extensive background in emergency planning and has done everything from task execution to directing crisis command centers.

The CMS Interpretive Guidelines is a 72-page resource which helps to clarify the CMS Guidelines and gives healthcare facilities direction as they review their programs. “CMS made it very clear that no exceptions are going to be granted, and that the outcome of this will have the same non-compliance effect as with any of the CoPs or the CfCs. So, essentially, that’s going to hit [you] in the financial pocket,” McKee says.

Further, the Interpretive Guidance encourages continuous planning and communication. The best advice McKee says it can offer is to think about what keeps you up at night when it comes to emergency planning. “You’re well aware of what those are as an organization, so planning for those and then creating an opportunity for improvement is the best advice that the Interpretive Guidance, can offer.”

Communication within your community is the key to CMS guidelines. CMS defines community as “the internal and external stakeholders that our organization and our jurisdictions rely upon. What needs to be considered is involving the widespread, and most impactful organizations and individuals, as plans for crisis events come together.” Communication parallels each area of the CMS Guidelines and should be taken very seriously. In communicating with your community during an emergency situation, you are not only disseminating information, but also receiving and transferring information. There should be redundant exchanges of information built into your plans, and accountability and succession planning should be the focus.

To hear how Bob McKee laid out the nuts and bolts of perfecting your CMS program, click here to access our on-demand webinar to review at your convenience. In addition, we’ve prepared a CMS Emergency Preparedness Library of Resources which includes our CMS Emergency Preparedness Gap Analysis where you can diagnose your current emergency preparedness plans and make any updates needed.