PHE Ending Impact on Emergency Preparedness Regulations

Emergency Preparedness

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new regulatory memo on May 1st, QSO-23-13-ALL  entitled “Guidance for Expiration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023." The memo outlines each waiver CMS put into place during COVID-19 and how the end of the PHE will affect those waivers. AHCA's full summary is here. 

There is a section in the memo related to Emergency Preparedness starting on page 2, stating that the following information supersedes the previously issued QSO-20-41-ALL-REVISED memo for all certified providers/suppliers. CMS regulations for Emergency Preparedness (EP) require the provider/supplier to conduct exercises to test their EP plan to ensure that it works, and that staff are trained appropriately about their roles and the provider/supplier's processes. During or after an actual emergency, the EP regulations allow for a one-year exemption from the requirement that the provider/supplier perform testing exercises. The exemption only applies to the next required full-scale exercise (not the exercise of choice), based on the 12-month exercise cycle. The cycle is determined by the provider/supplier (e.g., calendar, fiscal or another 12-month timeframe). The exemption only applies when a provider/supplier activates its emergency preparedness program for an emergency event.

Providers are expected to return to normal operating status and comply with regulatory requirements for emergency preparedness with the conclusion of the PHE, including conducting a full-scale exercise within its annual cycle for 2023 and an exercise of choice. The cycle is determined by the provider (e.g., calendar, fiscal, or another 12-month time).