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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

2.4 The Healthcare Coalition Senior Policy Group

It is important for Coalition developers to consider how executivelevel input from Coalition members will be incorporated into the HCRT during emergency response. In accordance with NIMS principles, this can be achieved through a MAC Group-like entity, which is named the Healthcare Coalition Senior Policy Group in this handbook. Example objectives for the Senior Policy Group include:

  • Develop policy-level decisions as indicated by the situation or as requested by the HCRT Leader.
  • Address major resource commitments that Coalition members may be asked to provide. For example, the Senior Policy Group could convene to approve hospital commitment of beds to support the evacuation of a facility that is not a member of the Healthcare Coalition.
  • Approve risk reduction strategies and other strategic issues that may arise during emergencies and disasters. For example, the Senior Policy Group could be used to approve a common public statement distributed to the media describing patient safety measures during an infectious outbreak.
  • Maintain optimal situational awareness for senior executives for sensitive information that may not be available to the HCRT. For example, law enforcement and intelligence authorities may wish to brief senior leaders of healthcare organizations on sensitive security threat details that are not released to the general public.
  • Monitor the HCRT for strategic effectiveness in its response and recovery roles.

2.4.1 Composition of the Senior Policy Group

The Senior Policy Group is composed of the Chief Executive Officer, senior administrator, or their designee from each member organization, who has authority to make decisions, commit resources, and accept high-level risk for their organization. In a large Coalition, a process may be established to select representatives for the Senior Policy Group. The jurisdiction’s Public Health authority, EMS chief, and/or other Tier 3 authority may be invited to participate in advisory positions.

2.4.2 Scope of Senior Policy Group Activities

The Senior Policy Group assembles (often virtually) only as needed during incident response for briefings and to deliberate on strategic and policy-level issues. It may also assemble if concern arises regarding the functional effectiveness of the HCRT.

Senior Policy Group activities during emergency response and recovery generally include participating in briefings given by the HCRT Leader to maintain situational awareness among senior executives. The Senior Policy Group may provide strategic and policy guidance that the HCRT can implement. The Senior Policy Group does not become involved in operational management, tactical decision-making, or other issues addressed by the HCRT unless a strategic or policy imperative arises.

2.4.3 Senior Policy Group Requirements

Support requirements for the Senior Policy Group are relatively simple and most will be accomplished through capabilities that support the HCRT. The additional requirements include the following:

  • Senior Policy Group briefings and meetings should be tightly facilitated to limit time commitments and keep the focus on policy and strategic issues.
  • Meeting space should be identified for the Senior Policy Group, although most Senior Policy Group meetings will be conducted via teleconference or video conference. Protocols for conducting these meetings should be pre-established and shared with the appropriate participants.
  • If these meetings are conducted via teleconference or video conference, the information technology and communications system used for Senior Policy Group meetings should ensure that sensitive information may be discussed and protected.


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  • This page last reviewed: February 14, 2012