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Mandatory Emergency Drill Scheduled for Home Care and Hospice Providers

On May 10th, the Department of Health (DOH) Division of Home and Community Based Services issued a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) announcing a mandatory emergency response drill starting on Tues., June 11, 2019 and ending on Thurs., June 13, 2019.

All Certified Home Health Agencies (CHHAs), Long Term Home Health Care Programs (LTHHCPs), Hospices, and Licensed Home Care Services Agencies (LHCSAs) are required to participate. This drill also pertains to Assisted Living Program (ALP) LHCSAs. According to the Department, if an ALP LHCSA serves only the ALP, participation is brief and simple (checking a box on a survey questionnaire). If the ALP LHCSA also serves the community, however, that LHCSA must be a full participant in the drill. This drill is mandatory. Failure to participate will result in a deficiency citation and possible enforcement action.

The Health Commerce System (HCS) is the primary means of communication between providers and the Department during emergencies as well as for normal operational issues. All communication between the Department and providers for this drill and during a real emergency will be conducted via the HCS Integrated Health Alert Notification System (IHANS). You will receive notification of the drill and what the nature of the drill will be on June 11, 2019 via IHANS. Please read the DAL carefully and take steps before the drill to ensure that roles in the HCS Communication Directory are up to date. In past drills, the following home care/hospice agency roles were notified of drills: 24 by 7 Facility Contact; Office of the Administrator; Administrator; Director, Patient Services for home care and Director, Clinical Services for hospice; Emergency Response Coordinator; and HPN Coordinator. Providers should also ensure that their community partner contact lists are up to date.

As the Department states, participation in the emergency drill is required and will be monitored by DOH staff. Non-compliant agencies will receive a deficiency citation and possibly enforcement action.

If you have questions about this emergency drill or the HERDS Emergency Response survey, please contact HCEmergency@health.ny.gov. If you have additional concerns or questions, please contact us.

Contact: Meg Everett, meverett@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8871 or Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828