CMS has proposed a rule requiring all hospitals to establish an emergency preparedness plan.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed a rule that would require all hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid as well as related suppliers to develop an emergency preparedness plan.

CMS proposed the rule after reviewing what it calls the current "regulatory patchwork" of emergency preparedness requirements currently established by Medicare, federal, state and local authorities as well as accrediting agencies and others.

The proposed rule includes four specific areas:

  • risk assessment and planning based on an all-hazards approach;
  • policies and procedures based on the emergency plan and risk assessment;
  • a communication plan that coordinates patient care within the facility, across health care providers, and with state and local public health departments and emergency systems;
  • testing and training programs.

CMS said it is proposing the requirements "to establish a comprehensive, consistent, flexible and dynamic regulatory approach to emergency preparedness and response."

The proposal, which was published Dec. 27, 2013, notes that the country has been challenged by several natural and man-made disasters over the past several years.

CMS stated in its proposed rule that "it is essential that health care providers and suppliers ensure that emergency management is integrated into their daily functions and values." To read the entire proposal, go to

The American Society for Healthcare Engineering noted in its Jan. 7 ASHE Insider e-newsletter that it is reading the rule to see whether it would create an unnecessary burden on hospitals.

ASHE planned to submit comments to CMS within the 60-day comment period, which closes Feb. 25. To inform ASHE about concerns, use the Advocacy Highway form at