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Emergency Management – Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) and Disaster Recovery

What is the required process for Emergency Management event recovery and Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP)?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.
The Joint Commission standards for an organization's disaster recovery and continuity of operations plans should be a well thought out approach to sustaining and returning to normal operations (EM.13.01.01 and EM.14.01.01). 

The requirements for a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) are defined in EM.13.01.01.  Think of the COOP as your emergency operations plan after the initial response to an incident.  The COOP outlines how the organization will continue to provide services until full operations are restored.  The COOP includes a strategy for a succession plan for key leaders if they are not able or available to carry out duties (for instance, if they are stranded away from the organization or have a communications interruption), as well as a delegation of authority plan for policy and decision making.    

There are differences between the EOP and the COOP.  Essentially, the EOP is a plan for how the organization will function during the mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery phases of a given emergency, or the emergency response to an event/incident.  The COOP should detail all the procedures that define how the organization will continue to operate within the emergency and/or recover the minimum essential functions in the event of a disaster.  The focus of a COOP is often protecting the physical plant, information technology systems, business and financial operations, and other infrastructure from direct disruption or damage so that the organization can continue to function through or shortly after an emergency.  

The organization will use its emergency operations plan to define its response to emergencies and to help position it for recovery (EM.14.01.01) after the emergency has passed. Various aspects of a recovery effort could take place during an event or after an event. Recovery strategies and actions are designed to help restore the systems that are critical to providing care, treatment, and services in the most expeditious manner possible.   

Emergency operations plans are to be designed to provide optimum flexibility to restore critical services as soon as possible to meet community needs. Recovery strategies are to maintain a focus on continuity of operations. For example: smooth transition from emergency to regular supply chains; effective decoupling of services shared with other entities during an event; use or return of stockpiled supplies; staff relief without affecting continuity of operations; creating the most seamless environment possible for patients and patient care.  To evaluate effectiveness, the survey process will review the emergency operations plan, the continuity of operations and recovery plans, interview staff and review exercise evaluations.  

Manual: Critical Access Hospital
Chapter: Emergency Management EM
New or updated requirements last added: June 13, 2022. New or updated requirements may be based on revisions to current accreditation requirements, regulatory changes, and/or an updated interpretation in response to industry changes. Substantive changes to accreditation requirements are also published in the Perspective Newsletter that is available to all Joint Commission accredited organizations.
Last reviewed by Standards Interpretation: June 13, 2022 Represents the most recent date that the FAQ was reviewed (e.g. annual review).
This page was last updated on June 13, 2022 with update notes of: Reflects new or updated requirements Types of changes and an explanation of change type: Editorial changes only: Format changes only. No changes to content. | Review only, FAQ is current: Periodic review completed, no changes to content. | Reflects new or updated requirements: Changes represent new or revised requirements.
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