CMS Releases Pandemic Plan

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

CMS has posted CMS Pandemic Plan – v. 3.1 Public Release with an effective date of January 11, 2021.  This is a 91-page document.  Here’s the Executive Summary:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people and industries across the country, exacting a heavy toll on every American. The lives lost and the impact of the economic toll have touched every aspect of American life. With that knowledge and the response experience gained in 2020, CMS improved its Pandemic Plan to ensure the Agency is able to meet the needs of its stakeholders and as a result, now stands better prepared for any future pandemic events. CMS’ Pandemic plan has not simply been updated; it has been completely redesigned and provides CMS with the guidance and decision-making framework needed to best meet the needs of its internal and external stakeholders. This plan also details the steps taken to protect those on the CMS workforce who worked tirelessly to fulfill the agency’s mission in service to all Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and all Americans enrolled in individual or group market coverage.

Readers should pay particularly close attention to Section 4: Policy Response (page 14), which details the utilization of available waivers and flexibilities, and comprehensively inventories the processes and activities that take place during a pandemic response. In addition, Section 6: Operational Response (page 43) defines a response structure that brings the operational and policy components together, expediting decision-making and accomplishing the goals of the Agency’s response. This revised CMS Pandemic Plan reflects and accounts for the complex and tightly coupled systems in which CMS operations and policy decisions are made. Decisions, data, processes, partner engagements, and key actions were captured to reflect the nimbleness needed to successfully respond to the ongoing Pandemic and to ensure guidance is available for future public health emergencies. This plan is more actionable and applicable to CMS’s entire body of work. It is an organized compilation of operational plans and policy playbooks, and will guide CMS in its preparation, response, and recovery from current and future pandemic threats.”

Following is a view of the Table of Contents:

This is a very detailed plan that contains many examples of CMS COVID-19 response, including this chart (such charts are spread throughout the plan):