Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
The Healthcare Coalition is useful for all phases of Comprehensive Emergency Management, but its primary mission should be to support healthcare organizations during emergency response and recovery. An element of this mission is promoting integration of Coalition member organizations into the broader community response.
In emergency management, the response organization is typically described in an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). The comprehensive EOP incorporates a System Description, which presents the elements of the response organization (including an organizational chart) and how they are related to each other. This chapter presents a System Description for the Healthcare Coalition response organization based on MAC System concepts summarized by NIMS (see Sections 1.4 and 1.5).
The specific objectives for a Healthcare Coalition during emergency response and recovery may vary from one Coalition to another. It is up to the healthcare system planners to establish what the Coalition should achieve during response. Therefore, response objectives may be simple or complex depending upon the individual Coalition. Sample response objectives for a robust Healthcare Coalition include:
The Healthcare Coalition may include the full range of healthcare assets that provide “point of service” medical care and other medically related services during a mass casualty and/or mass effect incident. Depending on how a particular Healthcare Coalition is constructed, this may include hospitals, community health centers, integrated healthcare systems, private physician offices, outpatient clinics, dialysis and other specialty treatment centers, and long-term care facilities (nursing homes, other skilled nursing facilities), and home care/hospice.
During emergency response, the Coalition’s response organization conducts a range of activities to achieve its stated objectives. Some examples of possible activities for the Coalition’s response organization are provided below.
The Healthcare Coalition’s authority to operate is based on the voluntary endorsement and support of its member organizations and relevant Jurisdictional Agencies in its geographic area. It is primarily responsive to its member organizations’ concerns.
The Healthcare Coalition’s member organizations are responsible to the Jurisdictional Agency(s) in the geographic area in which each operates. Thus, if the Healthcare Coalition spans the borders of multiple jurisdictions, the Coalition’s response organization must coordinate closely with all relevant Jurisdictional Agencies. The Coalition’s actions supplement the authority of the local and State governments that are responsible for the geographic area covered by the Healthcare Coalition. In some situations, the Jurisdictional Agency may issue a “Delegation of Authority” that authorizes the Coalition on behalf of the jurisdiction to address medical and public health related response matters.
Because of these considerations, the emergency response and recovery authority of the Healthcare Coalition may be limited, but this does not obviate the importance of the Coalition’s mission.
The design and function of the Healthcare Coalition response organization is based on the following assumptions:
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