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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Category: Hospital Preparedness

Capacity-Building Toolkit for Including Aging and Disability Networks in Emergency Planning

Author: Cheryl Levine, PhD, Senior Advisor for At-Risk Individuals, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
Published Date: 5/13/2019 11:03:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Hospital Preparedness;

Today, older adults and people with disabilities are better able to remain in their homes and live independently, thanks in part to the work of Community Based Organizations (CBOs).  But when disasters strike, older adults and people with disabilities are among the hardest hit and they may not be able to effectively respond to, cope with, and recover from a disaster. If you are a part of the aging and disability networks, planning for disasters and emergencies and establishing the partnerships needed to better serve the people who rely on you can be daunting.  How  Read more…

Preparing for a Potential Domestic Ebola Outbreak

Author: Robert Kadlec, MD, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Published Date: 3/15/2019 2:11:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings; Public Health Preparedness;

Enhancing U.S. Healthcare System Preparedness and Public Health Emergency Response Capabilities

Blog Series:  Battling the Ebola Epidemic

An Ebola outbreak that began more than seven months ago continues to claim lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Although international response efforts are underway to contain the outbreak at its source and prevent the spread of the disease to other countries, we must always be prepared for the possibility of an Ebola case in the United States.

<  Read more…

Exhaustion in the ED and Beyond: Managing Supply Shortages and Staff Fatigue in Healthcare Facilities

Author: Laura Kwinn Wolf, Ph.D., Director, ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Michael Eltringham, Stakeholder Engagement Analyst, ASPR Critical Infrastructure Protection Program Contract Support
Published Date: 2/19/2019 10:54:00 AM
Category: Hospital Preparedness;

Blog Series: Anticipating and Managing the Challenges Associated with Supply Shortages

The next time you face a supply shortage – from saline to syringes – brace yourself. Another shortage may be on the way:  staffing. As we discussed in the first blog in this series, hospitals and healthcare facilities face supply shortages every day, and these shortages require staff to dedicate more time and resources so they can continue providing patient care  Read more…

EMS: A Critical Partner in Successful Community Disaster Planning and Response

Author: Richard Hunt, MD Senior Medical Advisor, National Health Care Preparedness Programs, ASPR and John Hick, MD, Deputy Chief EMS Medical Director, Hennepin County Medical Center
Published Date: 5/21/2018 11:43:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Hospital Preparedness; National Health Security;

During EMS Week, we want to draw attention to the vital role EMS plays in disaster healthcare and salute our Emergency Medical Services colleagues nationwide. We know that across the country, our EMS colleagues work on the frontlines of health, providing lifesaving services every day, even on the worst days in your communities. EMS is the first point of contact with medical services for millions of Americans, and with every call EMS professionals put years of training and education to use to make a difference. Your care saves lives.

All too frequently, EMS must respond not j  Read more…

Healthcare Response to a No-notice Incident: Lessons Learned from Las Vegas Festival Shooting

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: 4/24/2018 3:48:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness; National Health Security;

On October 1, 2017, during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip, a gunman opened fired from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel on the crowd of concertgoers. He fired more than 1,100 rounds leaving 59 dead and 527 injured.

Recently, ASPR staff spoke with responding agencies from the Las Vegas shooting to help identify lessons learned that can help other communities, specifically members of the nation’s 476 health care c  Read more…

Hospital Preparedness Program: Celebrating 15 Years of Health Care Preparedness and Response

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 healt  Read more…

Lessons from Fukushima: New guide provides answers to save lives and improve emergency medical response

Author: John F. Koerner, MPH, CIH, Senior Special Advisor - Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, High-Yield Explosive (CBRNE) Science and Operations, HHS ASPR Immediate Office
Published Date: 3/12/2018 2:22:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Innovations; Exercises & Trainings; Hospital Preparedness; National Health Security; Response & Recovery;

Quick questions: A nuclear incident has occurred in your community and people are going to come to you for help. Do you know which medical issues you should focus on first? Or which steps need to be taken immediately after an incident to best protect the public? Or what resources might be available to help?

Before you answer “no” to any of those questions, download a copy of the newly released Decision Maker’s Guide: Medical Planning and Response for a Nuclear Detonation.

An e  Read more…

Inside the Texas Catastrophic Medical Operations Center: An Interview with Lori Upton

Author: by Lori Upton, RN, BSN, MS, CEM, Director of Preparedness, Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council.
Published Date: 1/31/2018 10:30:00 AM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness;

During Hurricane Harvey, SETRAC’s Catastrophic Medical Operations Center, or CMOC, acted as a clearinghouse – overseeing information management, brokering requests for assistance and supplies, coordinating patient movement, and providing situational awareness across emergency response disciplines. We spoke with Upton to learn more about the CMOC’s structure and day-to-day functions.

Q: How many members are in the Catastrophic Medical Operations Center?
A: A fully staffed CMOC has 13 members. During Harvey we expanded the CMOC to   Read more…

Responding to Harvey: How a Houston-area Healthcare Coalition Modeled Success

Author: Dan Hanfling, Special Advisor, Hospital Preparedness Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 1/31/2018 10:28:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Hospital Preparedness;

On Aug. 27, 2017, at the height of Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic winds and rain, a 54-year-old man with a serious head injury arrived at the Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) Hospital Emergency Department in Houston, Texas. As a Level III trauma center, the hospital needed additional personnel and resources to treat the man; he needed to be transported to a Level I trauma center for neurosurgery.

Hospital officials asked for transport assistance, but the weather conditions were so severe that roads were impassable and helicopter transports were grounded. A col  Read more…

In High Demand: How Health Centers Can Build Surge Capacity, Support People with Access and Functional Needs, and Advance National Health Security

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 8/2/2017 10:34:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness;

Our nation’s network of nearly 1,400 community health centers play a vital role in providing health care services to almost 25 million patients, including 8.4 million patients in rural health centers. When a disaster strikes, they have a key role in supporting national health security by continuing to provide services to the people they care for every day.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, community health cente  Read more…

Prepare to Play It Cool: Helping At-Risk Populations Combat Extreme Heat

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 6/29/2017 11:27:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness; Hospital Preparedness;

Summer is officially in full swing, and temperatures are sizzling in several parts of the country. While hurricanes, floods, and storms may be the types of severe weather most emergency planners and responders consider, extreme heat can be just as damaging, if not more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat kills more than 600 people every year in the United States, making it a top cause of weather-related deaths.

Whether as a rising average temperature or as heat waves, extreme heat is a health threat that can be more far reaching than an  Read more…

The Role of Public-Private Partnerships in National Health Security

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 1/27/2017 2:01:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness;

When it comes to national health security, creating new partnerships between private organizations and public entities is a key priority. These public-private partnerships (PPPs) often work to support health security efforts in new ways that can support communities in need, especially during or after a disaster event.

With 90 percent of critical health infrastructure operated by the private sector, creating new partnerships for public health organizations that can support preparedness and response planning is vital for creating truly health secure communities.

A publi  Read more…

Ensuring a coordinated response to Zika and other public health threats

Author: George W. Korch, Jr., Senior Science Advisor, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 12/5/2016 12:41:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Innovations; Hospital Preparedness; Medical Countermeasures; Response & Recovery;

When the first confirmed case of Zika transmission was reported in Puerto Rico on December 31, 2015, there were no vaccine candidates for Zika. Today there are at least a dozen approaches in the US alone that are being evaluated to someday be available for general use. Diagnostic assays to help patients make informed decisions about their health are also under development.

How have so many medical countermeasures advanced so quickly to fight a threat that few people were worried about just last year?

The partners in the Public Health Emergency Medical Enterprise (PHEM  Read more…

Pikachu in the PICU: Pokémon Go Away!

Author: Laura Kwinn Wolf, Ph.D. Chief, Critical Infrastructure Protection Branch, HHS-ASPR and Michael Pry, Director, Continuous Improvement at Excela Health System
Published Date: 7/29/2016 3:27:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness;

By now you’ve heard of the new augmented reality game, Pokémon GO, which brings a beloved set of cartoon characters from the 1990s into your environment through an app on your cell phone.  Pokémon can appear anywhere on a map, so the game encourages you to walk around your neighbourhood to locations where the Pokémon can be found—generally known as  Pokéstops or Gyms.  You too can hunt, train, and capture Pokémon in your own backyard, your neighbourhood park, or… your local hospital…

That last location causes some challenges for maintaining safety a  Read more…

An Opportunity for Sharing Information about Cyber Attacks

Author: Dr. Karen DeSalvo Acting Assistant Secretary for Health & Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 7/25/2016 9:58:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Hospital Preparedness;

As recent news reports show, security breaches and ransomware attacks in the Healthcare and Public Health sector are on the rise.  Criminal cyber attacks against health care organizations are up 125 percent compared to five years ago, replacing employee negligence and lost or stolen laptops as the top cause of health care data breaches. The average consolidated total cost of a data breach was $3.8 million, a 23 percent increase from 2013 to 2015.

To better p  Read more…

When active shooters invade safe spaces, having a plan matters

Author: Laura Kwinn Wolf, Ph.D. Chief, Critical Infrastructure Protection Branch
Published Date: 6/14/2016 12:21:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

Planning considerations for health care settings

This week, we saw the deadliest mass shooting in the United States. When many people in the community talk about Pulse, the gay night club that was the scene of the attack, they say the same thing: “this was a safe place.”

The same can be said for hospitals:  we think of them as safe places. Yet according to a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, there were 154 hospital-related shootings from 2000-2011.

The stat  Read more…

Community Paramedicine and the Changing Face of Pre-Hospital Care

Author: Experts from the CMS Innovation Center
Published Date: 5/20/2016 10:59:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery; Innovations; Hospital Preparedness;

For decades, emergency medical services (EMS) have conjured an image of ambulances speeding to save a life. We’re all familiar with their customary and important roles: rapid response for those in medical crisis; stabilization at the scene when necessary; and transport to hospital emergency departments (EDs) for continued management. Activated by a national network of 911 call centers, EMS professionals are poised for deployment to almost any site in the country to intervene in an emergency.

Today, however, many EMS systems have evolved from responding to medical emerge  Read more…

Putting Patients First: Reforming Emergency and Acute Care Delivery in the U.S.

Author: Aisha Hasan, Policy Analyst, Emergency Care Coordination Center, HHS/ASPR Division of Health System Policy
Published Date: 2/25/2016 11:40:00 AM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness; Innovations;

Meet 22-year-old John. He’s visiting his older sister, Ann, on Monday evening when he starts to throw-up and develops severe abdominal pain. John is in pain and Ann is scared. At around 7 p.m., Ann takes him to the urgent care center a block from her apartment.

Due to his persistent vomiting and history of kidney stones, John is sent to the closest emergency department (ED). He typically goes to a different hospital in town closer to his apartment and had a CT scan there last week. There is no health information exchange shared by the competing hospitals. Phone calls to t  Read more…

Integrating the Access and Functional Needs of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness into Pre-Disaster Planning and Coordination

Author: Cheryl A. Levine, Ph.D., Team Lead for At-Risk Individuals, Division for At Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Sulava Gautam, MPP, Program Analyst, GAPSI Contractor in support of the Division for At Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Samantha P. Williams, Ph.D., Research Psychologist, Social & Behavioral Research & Evaluation Branch, Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Hep, STDs & TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Nicole Gaskin-Laniyan, Ph.D., Commander, Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service
Published Date: 8/21/2015 1:14:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Hospital Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

The need for more patient-centered care for America’s aging population

Author: Brendan Carr, M.D., director, ASPR Emergency Care Coordination Center, and Aisha Hasan, policy analyst, ASPR Division of Health System Policy
Published Date: 8/7/2015 4:12:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness;

Mr. G is 92 years old. He’s at home Friday at 8 p.m. He suddenly feels nauseated, a tad dizzy, and a bit unsteady on his feet. He recalls when he felt like this before, the culprit was dehydration. But how can he be sure? His primary care doctor’s office is closed at this hour, so he calls 911. An ambulance takes him to the nearest emergency department (ED). After a few bags of IV fluid, the symptoms are gone, and he feels much better.

The diagnosis? Dehydration. But now it’s close to 3 a.m. The only person at home is his 87-year-old wife, and he does not want to bother he  Read more…

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