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As outlined by “Chapter 7 – Coverage for Medical Emergencies during and After-Hours” of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Center Compliance Manual (Compliance Manual Chapter 7), the health center must have clearly defined arrangements in place for promptly responding to patient medical emergencies after the health center’s regularly scheduled hours. One key component of this requirement is for the health center to develop and implement procedures that ensure:
Health centers can meet this requirement a number of different ways, including, but not limited to, contracting with a nurse triage service or assigning a health center provider to be on call. It is at the discretion of the health center to determine how after-hours calls are managed and the methodology used to inform patients of how to access care. However, the health center must ensure information is provided to patients in language and literacy levels appropriate to the patient population.
When developing a documented policy/procedures for after-hours coverage, ensure the procedures address the following:
Health Centers can view other requirements for this chapter and evaluate compliance by answering the questions in the “Coverage for Medical Emergencies During and After-Hours” section of the HRSA Site Visit Protocol (Site Visit Protocol Medical Emergencies).