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Healthcare Coalition Participation—Fulfill CMS Requirements and Ensure Assistance in a Crisis

This blog post is based on a recent webinar with James Paturas, Director of Yale New Haven Health System Center for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response (YNHHS-CEPDR).

Ensure Compliance Through Coalition Participation

Even though your organization is awaiting a CMS site visit to evaluate your Emergency Preparedness Program, you can continue to strengthen parts of your program while you wait. Healthcare coalitions are already requirements of both the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) and the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program (PHEP), and now they also help fulfill the requirements of the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule.

Joining a healthcare coalition helps your organization meet CMS requirements while also providing other benefits. In the midst of a crisis, having established relationships and roles within your community can greatly impact how well the emergency is handled.

Paturas emphasizes the importance of working with a coalition, sharing “The federal government has a sense that organizations have been planning in a vacuum, and they know that this is not going to work. Partnering with others ensures that all of the healthcare organizations have a voice and are represented in the plans. It allows everyone to come to the table.”

What Constitutes a Coalition?

The federal government has put together a core list of entities that make up a healthcare coalition. It must include two hospitals, local public health, emergency medical services/EMS and emergency management. It may also include Long-Term Care, Home Health, Durable Medical Equipment, and other local organizations.

Benefits of Coalitions

  1. Shared planning: Working with a community of organizations helps ensure that plans are ready for evaluation and action. It allows all of the organizations to work together to formulate plans and ensures that all organizations are represented. In creating a comprehensive communication plan, include all participating organizations’ contact information. Be sure to clearly define how often you should communicate, who you should communicate with, the key elements to be communicated, and the expectations in communication.
  2. Regional training: If the costs of training are shared among many organizations, this allows for more access to training courses.
  3. Regional exercises: Participation in regional exercises assists all organization types by meeting the community exercise requirements. Planning and completing exercises collectively also allows for a shared burden of planning and costs.
  4. Defined roles: Clearly established roles allow organizations to know how they can and will assist each other during an emergency.
  5. Governance documents: Having governance documents and regional plans are a requirement of HHS, and they can help determine how resources and assets are shared during an emergency.
  6. Efficiency: Creates an environment of efficiency and reduces duplications of efforts.

When meeting as a coalition, Paturas advises, “First, understand your organization’s capabilities and capacities. Then understand each of your partner organizations’ capabilities and capacities, and recognize that not everyone can do the same things. This is okay as long as cumulatively, they all support a response and recovery effort.”

Learn more about the CMS Final Emergency Preparedness Rule and what your organization needs to know about building healthcare coalitions.

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