Pennsylvania Association of

Community Health Centers

Supporting Pennsylvania's health centers in increasing access to quality primary health care for all

Comply with New Federal Emergency Preparedness

Review the latest policies and rules from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and other Medicare/Medicaid certified providers should be aware of new regulations that go into effect Nov. 15, 2017.

After review of provider emergency plans and policies across the nation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concluded that, in large part, emergency preparations were inadequate. CMS found this to be particularly true considering the frequency of storm-related disasters and public health concerns in the last several years.

CMS, to improve performance of providers and have higher standards of care for individuals in the event of an emergency, published a Final Rule in September 2016 establishing new requirements. These conditions of participation (CoP) and conditions for coverage (CfC) regarding emergency preparedness apply to all Medicare/Medicaid certified providers, including FQHCs and rural health clinics (RHCs).

Many of these requirements reiterate recommendations from the Bureau of Primary Health Care found in Program Information Notice 2007-15, Health Center Emergency Management Program Expectations.

The requirements within the final rule fall into four basic categories: 

  1. Risk assessment and planning
  2. Policies and procedures
  3. Communication plan
  4. Training and testing

The deadline for compliance with these new CMS requirements is Nov. 15, 2017. 

Please see PACHC Memo 16-04 for a variety of resources to address all four required categories.

The PA Health Alert Network (PA HAN) is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program. PA HAN serves as a secure communication network among state and local public health agencies, health care providers, hospitals and emergency management officials.  Sign up for PA HAN to receive timely health alerts and advisories.

The Technical Resources Assistance Center and Information Exchange (TRACIE) strives to meet the information and technical assistance needs of organizations involved in healthcare emergency preparedness and disaster medicine. Check out the resources and guidance specific to FQHCs.

Another resource is the Healthcare Coalition Preparedness Project, a partnership between The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of PA (HAP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to support and enhance healthcare preparedness and response efforts across the state.   

As part of this initiative, HAP staff is available to assist all Pennsylvania healthcare facilities, whether HAP members or not, with:
  • Facility and regional all-hazards planning, training, and exercises 
  • Development of regional Hazard Vulnerability Assessments     
  • Enhancement of regional and cross-regional Mutual Aid Agreements     
  • Implementation of the Knowledge Center—a statewide, web-based situational awareness and healthcare coordination program          
  • Providing staff support of health and medical personnel at the local, regional, or state level        
  • Participation in coalition (health and medical committee) meetings and support with regional planning and response coordination   
If you would like help with your disaster planning and coordination efforts, please contact HAP’s emergency preparedness regional manager for your region.