VORTTX is a better way to train facility staff.Please hold on!
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Date: 2016-09-08
Title: CMS finalizes rule to bolster emergency preparedness of certain facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid
Contact: press@cms.hhs.gov

CMS finalizes rule to bolster emergency preparedness of certain facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule to establish consistent emergency preparedness requirements for health care providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid, increase patient safety during emergencies, and establish a more coordinated response to natural and man-made disasters.

Over the past several years, and most recently in Louisiana, a number of natural and man-made disasters have put the health and safety of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries – and the public at large – at risk. These new requirements will require certain participating providers and suppliers to plan for disasters and coordinate with federal, state tribal, regional, and local emergency preparedness systems to ensure that facilities are adequately prepared to meet the needs of their patients during disasters and emergency situations.

“Situations like the recent flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, remind us that in the event of an emergency, the first priority of health care providers and suppliers is to protect the health and safety of their patients,” said CMS Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, M.D., MSc. “Preparation, planning, and one comprehensive approach for emergency preparedness is key. One life lost is one too many.”

“As people with medical needs are cared for in increasingly diverse settings, disaster preparedness is not only a responsibility of hospitals, but of many other providers and suppliers of healthcare services. Whether it’s trauma care or long-term nursing care or a home health service, patients’ needs for health care don’t stop when disasters strike; in fact their needs often increase in the immediate aftermath of a disaster,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response. “All parts of the healthcare system must be able to keep providing care through a disaster, both to save lives and to ensure that people can continue to function in their usual setting. Disasters tend to stress the entire health care system, and that’s not good for anyone.”

After reviewing the current Medicare emergency preparedness regulations for both providers and suppliers, CMS found that regulatory requirements were not comprehensive enough to address the complexities of emergency preparedness. For example, the requirements did not address the need for: (1) communication to coordinate with other systems of care within cities or states; (2) contingency planning; and (3) training of personnel. CMS proposed policies to address these gaps in the proposed rule, which was open to stakeholder comments.

After careful consideration of stakeholder comments on the proposed rule, this final rule requires Medicare and Medicaid participating providers and suppliers to meet the following four common and well known industry best practice standards.

1. Emergency plan: Based on a risk assessment, develop an emergency plan using an all-hazards approach focusing on capacities and capabilities that are critical to preparedness for a full spectrum of emergencies or disasters specific to the location of a provider or supplier.

2. Policies and procedures: Develop and implement policies and procedures based on the plan and risk assessment.

3. Communication plan: Develop and maintain a communication plan that complies with both Federal and State law. Patient care must be well-coordinated within the facility, across health care providers, and with State and local public health departments and emergency systems.

4. Training and testing program: Develop and maintain training and testing programs, including initial and annual trainings, and conduct drills and exercises or participate in an actual incident that tests the plan.

These standards are adjusted to reflect the characteristics of each type of provider and supplier. For example:

  • Outpatient providers and suppliers such as Ambulatory Surgical Centers and End-Stage Renal Disease Facilities will not be required to have policies and procedures for provision of subsistence needs.
  • Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, and Long Term Care facilities will be required to install and maintain emergency and standby power systems based on their emergency plan.

In response to comments, CMS made changes in several areas of the final rule, including removing the requirement for additional hours of generator testing, flexibility to choose the type of exercise a facility conducts for its second annual testing requirement, and allowing a separately certified facility within a healthcare system to take part in the system’s unified emergency preparedness program.

The final rule also includes a number of local and national resources related to emergency preparedness, including helpful reports, toolkits, and samples. Additionally, health care providers and suppliers can choose to participate in their local healthcare coalitions, which provide an opportunity to share resources and expertise in developing an emergency plan and also can provide support during an emergency.

These regulations are effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Health care providers and suppliers affected by this rule must comply and implement all regulations one year after the effective date.

For more information please see a blog by Dr. Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response, and the CMS Survey & Certification – Emergency Preparedness webpage.



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Contact Information:
Kyle Golding
The Golding Group
Office: (405) 361-4927


VORTTX: Virtual Online Tabletop Exercises for Healthcare Facilities.


OKLAHOMA CITY (November 15, 2016) – The Golding Group announces the public release of VORTTX Training and Testing for long-term health care facilities. Developed in partnership with one the top facility managers in the Midwest, the VORTTX system provides variable emergency response scenarios for facility staff training exercises. This type of training is part of compliance requirements for local, state and federal licensing.


According to a 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Human Services:

  • Most nursing homes nationwide met Federal requirements for written emergency plans and preparedness training. However, gaps in nursing home preparedness and response were found. Emergency plans lacked relevant information—including only about half of the tasks on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services checklist.
  • Federal regulations state that facilities must “train all employees in emergency procedures when they begin to work in the facility, periodically review the procedures with existing staff, and carry out unannounced staff drills using those procedures.”


Gamification of the training process is more captivating than traditional tabletop exercises and less expensive than 3rd party facilitators. The VORTTX scenario training changes situations and outcome variables based on the answers of staff for an evolving experience. Facility staff can train and test in groups, teams or on an individual basis with 3,000+ potential scenario combinations.


VORTTX training utilizes shift, time-of-day and real world complications to present robust training and testing opportunities. Facility management receive a summary report of each training exercise for licensing compliance as well as seeing areas of needed improvement in staff training. VORTTX provides robust staff preparation while reducing the time and cost of planning, executing and documentation.


“I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in disaster/emergency preparedness response and training for over 35 years. As manager of the Medical Emergency Operations Center (MERC) for 10 years, it was my job to work with all facets of planning, exercises and preparedness for those were involved with and worked the medical system of Tulsa County. My current position, in one of the largest volunteer organizations in the world, I am over disaster preparedness, response, training, exercises, planning for 17 counties in Oklahoma. I’ve been able to see and use countless training tools and systems. VORTTX is one of the most useful tools I have ever used. It’s user-friendly, pertinent, intuitive and the feedback is instantaneous.”  

Johnnie Munn, Disaster Program Manager, Tulsa Oklahoma


VORTTX Training and Testing was developed by Tadd Weese, Director of Facilities Management at Saint Simeon’s Episcopal Home in Tulsa, OK and Kyle Golding, CEO of The Golding Group in Oklahoma City, OK.


Founded in 2011, The Golding Group serves clients nationwide from offices in Oklahoma City, OK and Philadelphia, PA by providing strategic planning, business process management (BPM) and marketing integration for business and non-profit organizations. More information is available at TheGoldingGroup.com.



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The day has finally arrived. After many months of development, testing, trial runs and field test the VORTTX Training system is now ready for public use. Please take moment to read about the VORTTX system, watch the example video and compare to the “old way” of facility staff training, recording and reporting. We think you will find VORTTX to be the easies option to set up (just hit Start), keep your staff engaged (3,000+ situational variables) and create reports (sent straight to your In Box) ever.

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Coming Soon! Check back again. VORTTX is designed to be the most user-friendly variable outcome training solution available. Multi-part, multi-level scenarios provide a unique experience every time. VORTTX training utilizes shift, time-of-day and real world complications to present robust training and testing opportunities. Facility leadership receive a summary report of each training exercise for licensing compliance as well as seeing areas of needed improvement in staff training. VORTTX provides better staff preparation while reducing the time and cost of planning, executing and documentation.