By Lee Tincher, MS, RDN
President, Meals for All, Inc.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finally released the long-expected final Rule for health care emergency preparedness. CMS wants to ensure that all healthcare providers and facilities have an emergency preparedness plan in place at all times. This new Rule has been in development from shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Recent disasters from hurricanes in New York, New Jersey and Florida to flooding in North Carolina and Louisiana to wildfires in the west have forced the evacuation of many hospitals and health care facilities. These disasters put the health and safety of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries — and the public at large — at risk. “Situations like the recent flooding remind us in the event of an emergency, the first priority of health care providers and suppliers is to protect the health and safety of their patients,” said CMS Deputy Director and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, MD. “Preparation, planning and one comprehensive approach for emergency preparedness is key. One life lost is one too many.”