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Training: A Critical Component To Any Disaster Plan

Training: A Critical Component to Any Disaster Plan

By Jo Miller, MPH, RDN, Vice President of Nutrition at Meals for All, Inc.

Practice makes perfect — as the old adage says. Thus, when CMS updated the Emergency Preparedness Rule for Medicare and Medicaid participating providers in 2016, training and testing was included as one of four Conditions of Participation (CoP). The CMS Rule applies to 17 different inpatient and outpatient provider types, but is also an ideal starting point for any residential facility plan. Conducting comprehensive trainings at least annually will identify gaps in your plan and confirm capabilities and capacities of your current system. Determine whether your community requires a full-scale disaster drill or a table-top exercise, but be sure to train all new and existing staff annually.  

The 2016 CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule includes 44 emergency preparedness tags, three of which are focused on training and testing:

  • E-0036 Emergency Preparedness Training and Testing
  • E-0037 Emergency Preparedness Training Program
  • E-0039 Emergency Preparedness Testing Requirements

Specific elements of each individual CMS tag can be found under Surveyors Tool – EP Tags and are best practice. Even providers without CMS regulatory oversight (such as residential facilities) will experience emergencies and benefit from these best practices. Components of a comprehensive training program should include:

  • Individualized hazard vulnerability assessment
  • Unique policies and procedures based on a campus’ most-likely hazards
  • Internal communication plan
  • Review and update plan annually
  • Training for all new and existing staff, highlighting individual roles
  • Plan for training annually
  • Plan to document training

The cornerstone of any great plan is practice, and there are many resources (links below) to help bolster your facility’s disaster plan and remember — practice makes perfect! Meals for All’s Registered Dietitians are also available to discuss how you can prepare your facility best during these uncertain times. Request a consultation today, and be prepared!

Additional Training Resources:

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