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HHS to Evaluate Home Health Agencies on Emergency Communication Plans

HHS to Evaluate Home Health Agencies on Emergency Communication Plans

Courtesy of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has included in their workplan a report to evaluate home health agencies’ (HHA) compliance with Emergency Preparedness Conditions of Participation (EP CoPs). The report is expected to be issued in 2023.

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and fires continue to threaten operations, even as HHAs continue to address the impact of COVID-19. In 2020, the United States experienced a record number of natural disasters, and federal scientists predict a greater number of hurricanes and storms in 2021.

In addition to the importance of preparing for emerging infectious diseases (EID), HHAs have been required to comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) EP CoPs since November 2017. As part of these EP CoPs, CMS requires HHAs to develop communication plans that must include information necessary to ensure continuity of care during any emergency. The evaluation announced on Tuesday, July 20, will determine selected HHAs’ compliance with EP CoPs and will report factors these HHAs identify as hindering and/or supporting continuity of care during a disaster.

The OIG will be conducting interviews with HHAs and state associations for assistance in developing their report. The OIG, Office of Evaluations and Inspections team began their discussions with National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) President William A. Dombi and Mary Carr, Vice President for Regulatory Affairs. NAHC provided insights into the uniqueness of delivery care in the home as it relates to emergency preparedness communications.

Announced or Revised
Report Number(s)
Expected Issue Date (FY)
July 2021Centers for Medicare & Medicaid ServicesHome Health Agencies’ Emergency Communication Plans: Strengths and Challenges Ensuring Continuity of Care During Disasters
Office of Evaluation and InspectionsOEI-04-21-00280
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