Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
Author: Melissa Harvey, RN, MSPH, Director of the Division of National Healthcare Preparedness Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Published Date: 4/16/2018 11:38:00 AM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness; National Health Security;
Whether from devastating hurricanes, terrorist attacks, or deadly disease outbreaks, the United States regularly faces crises that threaten the health and safety of Americans. Saving lives during these events requires thorough planning and dedicated coordination to ensure the nation’s health care system is ready when disaster strikes.
Health care readiness is at the heart of ASPR’s Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP). As the only source of federal funding to prepare the nation’s mostly private health care system to respond to emergencies, HPP has been supporting health care system readiness around the country for the past 15 years.
Supporting the development and sustainment of health care coalitions (HCCs) is key to HPP’s success. HPP encourages diverse organizations to work together through HCCs to make sure their communities are ready to respond during emergencies. When asked about the program, over 95% of HCCs state that HPP funding, guidance, and technical support have improved their ability to decrease morbidity and mortality during disasters.
Nationwide Map of Health Care Coalitions
Today, HPP supports more than 470 HCCs around the country. HCCs promote information sharing and relationship-building within communities and among the health care and public health partners that rely on one another during emergencies. With over 31,000 members nationwide, HCCs reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. They also represent a comprehensive picture of the organizations involved in keeping a community prepared and safe.
Preparing the nation’s private health care system to collaboratively plan for and respond to emergencies takes coordination, innovation, and continued diligence, and HPP-supported programs to protect health and save lives in the face of new and emerging threats.
Following the 2014 Ebola outbreak, HPP helped establish a nationwide treatment network for Ebola and other infectious diseases and supported the creation of the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC) to ensure our nation’s health care system had a structure in place to respond to emerging infectious diseases.
HPP has overseen an investment of nearly $6 billion in the nation’s health care system over the past 15 years. This investment has helped improve patient outcomes and enable a more rapid recovery in the process. HCCs supported by HPP have led responses to numerous events, saving countless lives in the process.
Twenty-first century health threats will continue to emerge and challenge the nation in new and different ways. Though the future may be uncertain, HPP will remain a constant, integral part of protecting Americans everywhere – helping to keep health care systems prepared and ready with dedication, diligence, and determination.
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