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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Hospitals and Health Care Coalitions

From large-scale disasters like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 to smaller local events like winter heating crises, the health care system provides vital care in the wake of disasters. Ensuring high-quality patient care during disasters and other surge incidents relies largely on coordination and collaboration among health care stakeholders.

For 15 years, ASPR has strengthened our nation’s health care system through the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), which is the only source of federal funding that supports regional health care system preparedness. HPP focuses on building health care coalitions (HCCs), which incentivize diverse and often competitive healthcare organizations with differing priorities to work together to prepare for and respond to events that threaten the public’s health. Serving as both coordinating entities and response bodies, HCCs ensure that their members have the necessary medical equipment and supplies, real-time information, communication systems, and trained personnel to respond to emergencies.

Building and Sustaining Health Care Coalitions

Tools and Tests for All-Hazards Preparedness

  • ASPR Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE): ASPR TRACIE is a health care emergency preparedness information gateway that provides stakeholders with access to information and resources to improve preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts. ASPR TRACIE supports timely access to information and leading practices, identifies and remedies knowledge gaps, and provides technical assistance to a wide range of stakeholders, including federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, nongovernmental organizations, and private sector entities.

  • Health Care Coalition Resource and Gap Analysis Tool: This tool is designed to help HCC members develop a common understanding of their resources and areas for possible improvement. The tool also helps HCC members identify strategies for prioritizing which gaps to address first. Such gaps may include inadequate plans or procedures, staffing, equipment and supplies, skills and expertise, and/or services. HCCs are encouraged to modify the template to reflect their coalition members, resources, and unique community attributes.

  • Health Care Coalition Resource and Gap Analysis Aggregator: This tool was developed as a companion to the Healthcare Coalition Resource and Gap Analysis Tool. This Aggregator Tool is intended to summarize the results from multiple HCC Resource and Gap Analysis Tool workbook files to present an overall picture of a larger geographic area, including an entire state.

  • Health Care Coalition Surge Test Tool: The Health Care Coalition Surge Test Tool helps health care coalitions identify gaps in their surge planning through a no-notice or short-notice drill. The tool evaluates a coalition’s ability to coordinate effectively to find appropriate destinations for patients by using a simulated evacuation of up to three patient care facilities. To learn more about the tool, check out this webinar and watch this short training video on the Health Care Coalition Surge Test Tool.

  • Health Care Coalition Response Plan: Both the 2017-2022 Health Care Preparedness and Response Capabilities and HPP-PHEP Cooperative Agreement Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) require HHCs to develop a response plan. This template provides general headers and descriptions for a sample HCC response plan template.

  • Hospital Pharmacy Disaster Calculator: This calculator allows hospitals to estimate whether they have adequate supplies of medications for a disaster in their hospital stock.

  • Hospital Surge Evaluation Tool: Is your hospital ready to handle patient surge in the wake of a disaster? The Hospital Surge Evaluation Tool is a user-friendly peer assessment tool that was designed to identify gaps in a hospital’s preparedness and to help assess its ability to respond to a mass-casualty event. The tool combines a no-notice drill with the real-life considerations of health care delivery in acute care settings.

  • Pediatric Preparedness: Essential Pediatric Considerations Checklist: Exit Icon Of the 4,146 emergency departments that participated in the 2013 National Pediatric Readiness assessment, only 47 percent had included specific pediatric considerations in their disaster plans. Is your hospital or health care coalition ready to meet the unique needs of children in a disaster? Find out how you can incorporate essential pediatric considerations into your hospital’s existing disaster policies with the Essential Pediatric Considerations Checklist.

  • WISER: Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders: Optimized for mobile access, WISER is a system designed to give emergency responders the information they need to respond to hazardous material incidents. Using WISER, responders can identify a potentially hazardous substance, including its physical characteristics and human health effects, and access containment and suppression advice. The system contains information on more than 400 chemicals and radiologic agents.

Disaster-Specific Tools

Drug Shortages

  • Select Materials on Drug Shortages and Scarce ResourcesThis page highlights resources ASPR TRACIE developed to help stakeholders prepare for and manage drug shortages and the allocation of scarce resources. Users can search these resources by keyword(s) (e.g., "scarce resources," "saline," "analgesic," "shortage," and "antiviral") for more specific results.

Infrastructure Crises

  • Utility Failures Topic Collection: The resources in this Topic Collection include lessons learned from recent disasters, case studies, and toolkits designed to help healthcare planners prepare to respond to, continue functioning during, and recover from post-disaster utility failures.

  • Durable Medical Equipment in Disasters: This ASPR TRACIE fact sheet provides information on general DME categories and focuses on electricity-dependent DME that may be affected by disasters and emergencies, including power failures. It also includes information to assist healthcare system preparedness stakeholders plan for medically vulnerable populations who rely on DME.

  • Planning for Power Outages: A Guide for Hospitals and Health Care Facilities: Is your hospital ready to keep patients healthy when the power goes out? Planning for Power Outages: A Guide for Hospitals and Health Care Facilities highlights the impacts of a power outage on hospitals and health care facilities and offers an overview of important preparedness measures. The guide also provides information on existing resources that can be used to develop and implement the hospital’s or health care facility's preparedness strategy and establish better relationships with the local electric utility provider.

  • HHS emPOWER Map: The HHS emPOWER Map is an interactive online tool to help health care and emergency management organizations as they plan to meet the emergency needs of community residents who rely on electrically-powered medical and assistive equipment to live independently at home. The integrated data accessible through the HHS emPOWER Map helps health care entities, first responders, electric utility officials, and community organizations to work with health officials to prevent prolonged power outages from negatively affecting the health of vulnerable residents.

  • Planning for Water Supply Interruptions: A Guide for Hospitals and Health Care Facilities: Disasters and emergencies can interrupt regular water supply, in turn threatening patient health. Planning for Water Supply Interruptions: A Guide for Hospitals and Health Care Facilities highlights the impacts of a water interruption and provides guidance to help hospitals and health care facilities prepare for such an event.


  • Avian Influenza (Including Asian H7N9): Resources at Your FingertipsThis document provides healthcare system and public health preparedness professionals, emergency managers, and other stakeholders with resources and information to consider when improving their readiness for potential human infections with avian influenza A viruses.

  • Considerations for the Use of Temporary Care Locations for Managing Seasonal Patient SurgeThis ASPR TRACIE fact sheet describes the major considerations healthcare facility emergency planners should take into account when developing patient surge management solutions for longer-duration events, such as weeks to months of managing seasonal illness surge. These considerations are different than those of planning to handle surge from a no-notice, short duration event.

  • Epidemic/ Pandemic Flu Topic CollectionThe resources included in this Topic Collection can help healthcare professionals and emergency medical planners prepare for the next influenza epidemic or pandemic. It is important to note how important strong health care coalitions with tiered response strategies and coordinated incident management are to an effective pandemic influenza response.

  • Select Resources on Infectious DiseaseThis page highlights resources ASPR TRACIE developed to address current and emerging infectious disease threats.

  • Health Care Coalition Pandemic ChecklistInfluenza and other emerging viruses with pandemic potential continue to mutate, evolve, and infect animals and people, posing significant threats to health. The Health Care Coalition Pandemic Checklist is a planning tool intended to help health care coalitions and their partners assess their preparedness for an influenza pandemic. It may also be used to orient an HCC’s response at the outset of a pandemic.

Mass-Casualty Incidents

  • Select Mass Violence Resources: Mass violence incidents require efficiency and coordination among multiple response entities. Efforts may need to be directed toward doing the greatest good for the greatest amount of people, which is counter to day-to-day trauma triage. These ASPR TRACIE-developed resources can help our stakeholders prepare for, respond to, and help their communities recover from these traumatic events.

  • Chemical Hazards Emergency Management (CHEMM): Chemical Hazards Emergency Management (CHEMM) enables first responders, first receivers, and other health care entities to plan for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of mass-casualty incidents involving chemicals.

  • Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM): Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) provides guidance on the clinical diagnosis and treatment of mass-casualty radiological/nuclear events for health care providers. The tool includes just-in-time, evidence-based, usable information with sufficient background and context to make complex issues understandable to those without formal radiation medicine expertise.


  • This page last reviewed: August 17, 2018