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Preparing the Healthcare Sector for the Worst

Apr 04, 2014

In a natural disaster or public health crisis, emergency management and health officials must respond quickly and efficiently to save lives and treat victims. Before the healthcare sector can help others, it must be sure it can handle the increased load, manage surge, and have preparedness and contingency plans in place.

The Healthcare Preparedness Activity (HPA), in the Division of Strategic National Stockpile, has as its mission and vision to assist healthcare systems to effectively prepare and respond to emergencies. They provide tools and other resources to enhance preparedness and response within many healthcare settings. The HPA works to support coordination between public health, healthcare, and emergency management to safely deliver the right care at the right time and in the right place.

The Hospitals section has reports and tools on pandemic influenza, the Hospital Incident Command System, and more. One of the best tools offered is the Hospital All-Hazards Assessment Interactive Tool, geared toward a facility’s emergency and preparedness staff. After answering questions about your hospital’s preparedness plan, you can print a summary of your responses and make changes to your plans.

The Emergency Responders section is geared toward planning to use community call centers, such as nurse advice lines and other hotlines, during large public health emergencies or pandemics. This would act to “triage” non-life threatening calls away from 9-1-1, leaving the critical resources available to those who were in grave need.

These pages are hosted by the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Preparedness. Resources, toolkits, reports and guides will be added regularly and many are currently in various stages of preparation, and you can sign up for email updates. Once you register and go to the selection page, click on “Emergency Preparedness” and then select “Healthcare Preparedness Info.” You can also select other updates offered.