As the flurry of activity ramps up at providers to meet the November 15, 2017 deadline for implementation of the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule, we thought it prudent to share what you may want to consider when selecting a consultancy service to support you or your agency.  Below are four key areas to examine plus some Behavioral Based Interview questions that could help.

  1. Does the consulting group have experience specifically in Healthcare Emergency Management?
    • There are a lot of Crisis Management and Emergency Management consultancy groups out there, that are awesome at traditionally emergency management but the nuances of working in a healthcare setting with doctors, nurses, and patients may escape them. Here is what to look at and ask:
      • Question: Have you ever worked (not just consulted) in a health care setting? If so in what role?
        Answer: You are looking for someone that had responsibility for preparedness activities and worked across multi-disciplinarian teams.
      • Question: Tell me about your experiences navigating policy implementation in healthcare facilities.
        Answer: You are looking for experience dealing with Policy and Procedure Committees along with what has to have exposure to senior leadership or the Board Level to meet governing body requirements.
      • Question: Tell me about a time when you had to gain physician buy-in or support.
        Answer: An ideal response speaks to experience in gaining physician support for initiatives versus telling them they have to comply
  1. Does the consulting group have experience working with CMS or State Survey Agencies in addition to accreditation bodies?
    • Almost everybody it seems like has been through a Joint Commission Tracer, while that is important, CMS CoPs and CfCs surveys are a different game entirely. Here is what to ask:
      • Question: Have you ever been involved with a CMS/State Complaint Survey? If so in what capacity?
        Answer: The ideal candidate should describe how complaint surveys work and the methodology a surveyor uses to interview staff and a multitude of patient records.
      • Question: Tell me about your experience with an Immediate Jeopardy finding.
        Answer: An extremely qualified candidate should be able to detail the action plan development process for abatement along with other take-aways from their experience.  If a candidate does not have direct experience with an IJ then he should be able to lay out what can cause an IJ finding and how to go about abating one.
  1. Does the consulting group have the experience and credentials in the emergency management arena?
    • It may seem like common sense, however validating a person’s credentials in Emergency Management since there are certifications for everything. Here are two key credentials to look for:
      • CEM – Certified Emergency Manager from the International Association of Emergency Manager. Requires a minimum of 5 years of validated experience in Emergency Management, followed by a rigorous application to demonstrate contributions to the profession, 100 hours of education, essay questions, and a 100 question test.  This certification also requires continuing education.
      • CHEC – Certified Hospital Emergency Coordinator from Augusta University. Has three levels requiring passing a combination of various disaster medicine and management courses including the proprietary course. The Level- III requires 1 year experience in addition to the course work. This certification also requires continuing education.
    • Additionally, the consultancy group should be able to share résumés of key staff that demonstrate both operational experiences, such as working in Type 1 events like the Democratic National Convention, managing a health care provider through disasters and true organizational leadership with staff accountability and revenue management.

This level of vetting coupled with your organization’s normal procurement process will set your project off on the right foot and increase buy-in within your own organization.

Ask us any of these questions will be glad to answer them.  If you think something is missing Contact Us and we will add it, and give you a shout out in the process.


Crisis Focus, LLC has focused expertise in healthcare emergency management, including CMS compliance. Please visit Crisis Focus’ CMS Emergency Preparedness resource page or contact us for more information.