October 03, 2007 | | Comments 0
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How the revised emergency management standards tie into federal rules

If anything, the Joint Commission’s updated emergency management standards represent a much clearer picture of what might be considered best practices for the structure of your emergency operations plan (which used to be called your disaster or emergency response plan in the standards). The revisions take effect January 1.

Clearly, in this (still) post-9/11 world, the hierarchy of regulatory oversight continues to have the requirements of the federal government at its apex. If your organization has any hopes of funding additional improvements to your preparedness activities, adoption of a response structure that is compliant with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) must be your primary goal. Fortunately, the following six critical areas identified in the new EC.4.13 through EC.4.18 are readily “folded” into NIMS-compliant structures:

  • Communications
  • Resources and assets
  • Safety and security
  • Staff responsibilities
  • Utilities management
  • Patient clinical and support activities

That said, there’s really very little in the way of surprises in the new standards. When the Joint Commission updated the elements of performance under EC.4.20 (the standard requiring disaster drills) last year, several of the above-bulleted critical areas were identified succinctly (communications, resource mobilization, and patient care activities). The remaining newbies primarily resulted from post-Katrina reviews of hospital response in New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast.

The expectation of The Joint Commission is that if your organization is able to get and keep its act together relative to those six areas, then you should be able to manage events of every stripe and magnitude.

Entry Information

Filed Under: Emergency management

Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

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