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Hospitals may face new disaster-preparation mandate

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A proposed new federal regulation may substantially affect how hospitals must prepare for emergencies.

Among its provisions:

*Many healthcare providers would be compelled to make preparations for major emergencies (such as weather disasters or epidemics)  as a condition for getting Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Current federal rules don’t require even minimal preparations for such disasters.

*Providers  covered by the proposed rule would have to conduct regular disaster drills, plan for maintaining services during power failures and create systems to track and care for displaced patients.

Ashley Thompson, a senior vice president at the American Hospital Association, told The New York Times  that the AHA generally agrees with the proposal, but wants Medicare to align its requirements with crisis-preparedness standards developed by such other bodies as the Joint Commission.


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