Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
When establishing processes to sustain and enhance the Coalition’s response capability, it is important to consider the need to address recurring issues, such as training staff and evaluating performance. The Healthcare Coalition’s Emergency Management Program (EMP) provides the structure and guidance for preparedness activities.
One of the most important concepts in Comprehensive Emergency Management is organizing the EMP by the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. These phases are summarized below.
The Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA) provides the basis for informed planning in all phases of emergency management. The HVA process is described in relation to the Healthcare Coalition at the end of this chapter.
A coordinating or organizing body should be created to conduct the Healthcare Coalition’s preparedness and mitigation activities (Chapter 6). Maintaining consistency with emergency management terminology, this can be addressed through an Emergency Management Committee (EMC). The EMC assures a fair and balanced process for Coalition preparedness and mitigation activities among all member organizations. For this to occur, the following requirements must be in place:
The desired construct of the EMC includes representation from each organization in the Coalition. In very large or complex Coalitions, this may not always be feasible and the actual composition may reflect a fair and balanced representation of the different types of organizations. To ensure fairness, a process to rotate EMC participation should be designed into the Coalition’s EMP.
The participants on the EMC should have the delegated authority to represent their respective organizations. This does not mean that they can make all decisions on behalf of the organization, especially decisions with major financial or legal implications. But it does mean that they can speak for their institution within defined parameters and are responsible for communicating information related to Coalition preparedness activities back to the leadership of their respective organization. It is up to the organization to establish the level of decision-making authority that its representative has on the EMC.
Representatives on the EMC should also have some level of expertise in healthcare system emergency management. The ideal representative is knowledgeable of emergency management principles and practices, including NIMS and ICS, and understands the organization that they are representing.
How the EMC operates is another area to address during the initial development of the Coalition. The following concepts may be helpful in establishing the EMC:
It may be beneficial to establish some level of executive oversight to the EMC. An executive committee can be established that is composed of executive administrators or their designees from Coalition organizations. This committee can review the development of Coalition elements as they evolve, provide strategic input into the EMC, and approve major financial commitments. While meetings to address these tasks are expected to be less frequent than EMC meetings (e.g., bi-annually), they require significant preparation to efficiently inform the representatives.
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