Four fundamental pieces of a CMS compliant communication plan
When designing a CMS compliant communication plan, health care providers must cover four fundamental pieces:
1. Contact information for all stakeholdersTo qualify for medicare and medicaid, CMS specifies as mandatory, contact information for staff, physicians, other hospitals, entities providing services, and volunteers. Contact information for federal, state, tribal, regional, and local emergency management coordinators is also mandatory. This information, must be current, and accessible to every constituent organization involved in an emergency response, in order to meet program requirements.
“The plan must include contact information for other hospitals and CAHs; method for sharing information and medical documentation for patients.” – CMS
2. Primary and alternate communication for staff and agenciesEach entity should identify the likely types of telephone disruption that may occur. Facilities should prepare for interruption to landlines and overwhelmed cellular service. CMS make’s no specific recommendations. Satellite, pagers, internet, cable, walkie-talkies, ham radio and other options may be part of a facility’s plan. Staff, leadership and others may be in different locations during an emergency. A communication system should allow individuals to use multiple modes of communication. This helps to minimize communications interruptions. It’s all about planning ahead and being prepared for anything. We plan now so that we can handle emergency situations in a calm, efficient manner. This means our plan must be easily understood and easily executed. Teleira provides solutions now to remove stress and confusion later, while meeting the requirements for CMS compliance.
3. A means of sharing patient information while maintaining privacyYour communication plan needs to define what information to include, what type of patient information can be released and who is authorized to release and view it. Sharing information will be very difficult given the difference in recordkeeping methods. Some facilities do not have digitized records and are not prepared to receive medical information digitally, such as through an EHR. Working with partners or healthcare coalitions may be an important part of developing this part of the communication plan. Regardless of your decision, your methods must be HIPAA-compliant.
4. A means of sharing resource information with other facilitiesHealthcare facilities need to be prepared to provide their current occupancy, any resource needs, and ability to provide assistance. For healthcare providers to continually provide excellent care, they need be able to share accurate information about available beds, medical supply inventory and other resources.
Keep things simple and consistentRegardless of the tools implemented in your planning, communication needs to be simple and consistent. It is important that your communication capabilities are as strong as ever during an emergency. Teleira offers tools for notification, recovery through satellite and cloud, conferencing and more, all on one simple platform. It is not enough to simply be able to communicate. With Teleira, business can carry on as usual in the event of a disaster. With Teleira you can easily move from traditional systems to backup solutions with the click of a button. Set up your recovery/backup system for any given situation in advance so you can have peace of mind in stressful emergency situations.
– By Mark Wier