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COPs require almost all to have emergency services
The Hospital Conditions of Participation (COP) require nearly all hospitals, including limited-service providers and others without emergency departments, to provide emergency services, according to guidance recently released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The guidance states that almost all hospitals must have the resources to evaluate people with emergencies, provide initial treatment or provide transfer services when necessary. CMS also clarifies that hospitals are not allowed to rely on 9-1-1 services in lieu of providing emergency services.
The guidance does not apply to critical access hospitals, which are covered by a separate set of guidelines.
CMS issued the clarification as one of the elements of its Strategic and Implementing Plan submitted to Congress in 2006 with respect to physician-owned limited-service hospitals.
The agency's fiscal year 2008 hospital inpatient prospective payment system proposed rule also included provisions to improve transparency and public disclosure of hospital emergency services capacity, and also requests public comment on whether Medicare should strengthen its emergency requirements.
Capability, not capacity is preparedness measure
The measures used to assess progress in federal hospital and public health emergency preparedness programs have evolved since 2002 from measuring capacity to assessing capability, according to results of a recent study by the Government Accountability Office.
The Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began developing in 2006 formal data analysis programs to validate performance data reported by preparedness grant recipients and generate standardized reports.
However, at present they cannot provide consistent feedback to recipients or measure progress collectively or across recipient programs, GAO said. The CDC plans to issue a report on recipient programs this year, while the timeline for a similar report from the HRSA program is uncertain due to the program's recent move to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
Survey: Enrollment up in HDHS/HSA plans
Some 4.5 million Americans are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHS) associated with a health savings account (HSA), according to a survey released by America's Health Insurance Plans. That's 1.3 million more people than AHIP reported a year ago.
Enrollment in the individual market rose to 1.1 million from 855,000, of which 27% were previously uninsured, AHIP said. Enrollment in the group market rose to nearly 3.4 million from 1.4 million.