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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Healthcare System Response

DHSP provides policy expertise and guidance related to healthcare system preparedness and response to disasters and public health emergencies. During responses, DHSP focuses on supporting federal, state, and local response operations in three main areas, including healthcare facility and provider information and education, medical surge prediction, and anticipation of near and long term healthcare system impacts.


When major storms hit an area, they can knock out power for days at a time. For over 2.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who rely upon electricity-dependent medical equipment, such as ventilators, cardiac devices and even wheelchairs, these power outages can be life-threatening.

The HHS emPOWER Map gives health and emergency planners, communities and other partners an important tool that they can use to better plan to protect health. The longer power outages last, the greater the risk that residents who rely upon electricity-dependent medical equipment and devices may be hospitalized or die. By using the HHS emPOWER Map, communities can work to reduce those risks.

Every hospital, first responder, electric company, and community member can use the map to find the monthly total of Medicare beneficiaries with electricity-dependent equipment claims at the U.S. state, territory, county, and zip code level and turn on real-time NOAA severe weather tracking services to identify areas and populations that may be impacted and at risk for power outages. The HHS emPOWER map helps first responders and planners anticipate potential access and functional needs, emergency plan for the whole community, and assist our at-risk community members before, during, and after an emergency.

Prescription Medication Preparedness Initiative (PMPI)

After a disaster, many people with chronic conditions who rely on prescription medicines and other forms of routine care may be unable to get the help they need. The Prescription Medication Preparedness Initiative (PMPI) is comprised of a group of public and private sector stakeholders that work together to address the challenges associated with prescription medication maintenance in disasters. The initiative aims not only to improve the preparedness and resiliency of patients who rely on prescription medications during disasters, but also to improve the preparedness and resilience of the systems that serve them.

ASPR’s Critical Infrastructure Protection for the Healthcare and Public Health Sectors (CIP) & PMPI have partnered to provide situational awareness messaging for severe, advance-notice weather events and other incidents that may disrupt business operations or impact patient access to prescription medications. As part of this collaborative, private sector partners receive email alerts from CIP prior to and during severe events. Private sector partners can use this information to help decide when and if they want to contact customers with information or guidance to check food, water, and medication/medical equipment supplies.

Division of Healthcare System Policy

  • This page last reviewed: August 13, 2019