Community health centers (CHCs) play a significant role in addressing healthcare needs during and after emergency events. CHCs must be equipped and prepared to effectively respond to emergency events. In November 2016, CMS established the Emergency Preparedness Requirements (EP Rule) to provide consistent and comprehensive emergency preparedness requirements for Medicare and Medicaid providers, including Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Centers (RHCs), with the ultimate goal of increasing patient safety during emergencies. Affected provider types must have met all applicable requirements of the rule by November 16, 2017.

CPCA has developed templates and educational resources to assist CHCs achieve compliance with the four core elements of the EP Rule:

  1. Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning: Develop an emergency plan based on a risk assessment and using an "all-hazards" approach, which will provide an integrated system for emergency planning that focuses on capacities and capabilities.
  2. Policies and Procedures: Develop and implement policies and procedures based on the emergency plan and risk assessment that are reviewed and updated at least annually.
  3. Communication Plan: Develop and maintain an emergency preparedness communication plan that complies with federal, state and local laws.
  4. Training and Testing: Develop and maintain training and testing programs, including initial training in policies and procedures.

Tools & Templates

Trainings & Educational Resources

The Impending Storm: The New CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule
During this one-hour webinar, speakers delve into the testing and training requirement, share best practices FQHCs/RHCs can use in becoming compliant, and equip attendees with useful resources that can be directly applied towards satisfying this portion of the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule.

CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule: Tips for Successful Implementation
Learn about the steps you can take now to ensure full compliance with the CMS EP Rule to avoid jeopardizing your health center's Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Part 1 highlights the response and continuity of care regulations for CHCs as specified in the CMS Rule. Part 2 focuses on healthcare coalitions and the benefits that can be gleaned from active participation.

CMS Emergency Preparedness Surveyor Training Webcasts
Speakers review the guidance and survey procedures contained in the CMS Emergency Preparedness Basic Surveyor Training, provide recommendations on how to get the most out of the training, and share opportunities for building out the emergency preparedness role at health centers. Click here for Webcast #1 and Webcast #2.

Additional Resources on the CMS Rule
  • ASPR TRACIE Website: contains extensive resources on the CMS Rule for all 17 provider types, including fact sheets, FAQs, templates, training opportunities, etc.
  • HRSA Webinar Recording: Emergency Preparedness with CMS: The CMS Rural Health Clinic/Federally Qualified Health Center office joined us for a session exploring health center emergency preparedness planning in compliance with federal, state, and local emergency preparedness requirements.
  • Basic Life Safety Code (BLSC) Training: The BLSC Training is intended to establish and refine surveyor skills and understanding of the Life Safety Code (LSC) survey process. The LSC is a set of fire protection requirements developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This training intends to enhance surveyors' overall ability to conduct LSC surveys on behalf of CMS.

California Healthcare Coalitions

CHCs do not have to operate in silo in order to meet all requirements of the CMS EP Rule. CHCs are encouraged to establish strong partnerships with their Healthcare Coalitions (HCCs), groups of individual healthcare and response organizations working in a defined geographic location to prepare and respond to disasters and emergencies. HCCs collaborate to ensure members have what they need to respond to emergencies, such as medical equipment and supplies, real-time information, communication systems, and trained healthcare personnel. If you are not already connected to your HCC, now is the time to engage. Click on the links below for contact information for HCCs throughout the state.

California Statewide Medical Health and Exercise Program (SWMHE)

The SWMHE Program consists of objective-driven exercise templates and generic exercise templates to assist jurisdictions, organizations, and facilities participate in the yearly exercise. The program utilizes the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) and aligns with Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP)/Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) grant requirements. The SWMHE Program is customizable to fit the needs of any organization, jurisdiction, or facility. You can change the scenario, exercise date, objectives, or any other details to fit your needs. Visit the SWMHE Website for additional information, templates, resources, and more.

CPCA Staff Contact

Amanda Carbajal, Associate Director of Workforce Development & Special Populations
(916) 440-8170

Ivan Prado, Program Coordinator of Health Center Operations
(916) 440-8170