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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Role of the HCO in MSCC

2.1 The Role of the HCO in MSCC

Patient evaluation and care in emergencies or disasters is provided primarily at community-based hospitals, integrated healthcare systems, clinics, community health centers, private physician offices, and other point-of-service medical facilities. These assets, therefore, must be centrally involved in the development of MSCC strategies. To maximize overall MSCC, efforts must extend beyond optimizing internal HCO operations and focus on integrating individual HCOs with each other and with non-medical organizations. Such integration ensures that decisions affecting all aspects of the community response are made with direct input from medical practitioners, thus establishing medical care, along its continuum, as an essential component of incident management.[3] This chapter examines management processes that effectively integrate HCOs into the larger response community. It is not intended to describe a comprehensive internal management system for individual HCOs.[4]


  1. In contrast, the traditional Incident Command System (ICS) model assumes that incident management is no longer responsible for patients once EMS transports patients to HCOs.
  2. Many other descriptions exist for individual HCO management, including the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS), State of California, Emergency Medical Services Authority, and Emergency Management Principles and Practices for Healthcare Systems, The Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management (ICDRM) at the George Washington University; for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Washington, D.C., June 2006.

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  • This page last reviewed: February 14, 2012