Imagine an emergency impacting a healthcare organization such as a long-term care facility. Now place that emergency as an “X” on a timeline. Everything after “X” is response and everything before “X” is an opportunity to prevent or at least mitigate the emergency. While healthcare providers certainly face unique emergency preparedness challenges, they will undoubtedly be more effective and efficient if they take the time to get before “X.”

Preparedness is the goal of getting before “X.” The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalized rules to establish consistent emergency preparedness requirements for health care providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid. Clearly not every emergency can be prevented, but preparedness is more than just prevention. Preparedness, as defined by Presidential Policy Directive Eight, states it (preparedness) encompasses five missions. They are: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery.

An all-hazards approach to preparedness requires consideration of potential area hazards and the development of plans, policies and training programs that apply each mission area to the potential hazard. When a hazard cannot be prevented, such as a hurricane, the plans, policies and training focus on items related to the four other missions (i.e. evacuation location and resources, shelter in place guidelines, staffing, supplies, generators, etc.).
The following provides a very general description of each Preparedness mission area and possible applications. Many of the applications cross over to other mission areas.

Prevention means the capabilities necessary to avoid, deter, or stop an emergency such as a crime or mass casualty incident. Prevention is the action taken to prevent a threatened or actual incident from occurring.
• Planning
• Hazard Vulnerability Assessments
• Workplace Violence Prevention
• Physical Security to Deter an Attack or Crime

Protection means the capabilities to secure against acts of violence and man-made or natural disasters. Protection focuses on ongoing actions that safeguard people and property from a threat or hazard.
• Planning
• Security Assessments
• Access Control
• Onsite Security or Law Enforcement
• Target Hardening

Mitigation means the capabilities necessary to eliminate or reduce the loss of life and property damage by lessening the impact of an event or emergency. In this document, “mitigation” also means reducing the likelihood that threats and hazards will happen.
• Collaboration
• Emergency Plans
• Training and Exercises

Response means the capabilities necessary to stabilize an emergency once it has already happened or is certain to happen in an unpreventable way; establish a safe and secure environment; save lives and property; and facilitate the transition to recovery.
• Emergency Plans
• Site Mapping
• Technology
• Training and Exercises

Recovery means the capabilities necessary to assist in restoring normal operations after an emergency.
• Mental Health Plans
• Business Continuity
• Training and Exercises

SafePlans’ Emergency Response Information Portal (ERIP) was specifically designed to help organization prepare. More than just an emergency plan or mobile app, ERIP is a comprehensive suite that will help your organization fully comply with the CMS mandate. While these mandates might be new to some healthcare organizations, they are not new to SafePlans. Since 2004 we have provided a cloud-based emergency preparedness solution that helps organizations get before “X.”

Please contact us to discuss how our preparedness technology and training can insure CMS compliance.