Disaster Preparedness an Easy HC Target

Posted on March 13, 2014


To be filed in the “We Saw That One Coming” folder is yesterday’s announcement by the Advisory Board that healthcare providers (and not just hospitals) may be required by Department of Health and Human Services to assess and beef up their disaster preparedness efforts.

Although still in concept and yet to be fully defined, it is hinted healthcare providers could be on the hook for “disaster preparedness”, which would include everything from how to maintain existing operations, to what to do with your trash in the event of a calamity.  It appears to be a wide scope, too, at who is affected.  The initiative includes protocol for the hospital’s supply chain such as blood sourcing and organ storage.  Also subject to enhanced planning would be non-acute care settings like hospice and outpatient surgery centers.

Much of this focus is a result of the outcomes from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, as well as the Joplin and other Midwestern tornadoes, which greatly affected hospitals.

Disaster preparedness is a serious topic, and one covered more than once here, especially from an energy sourcing and design problem.  When comparing the checks-and-balances other industries have to ensure their operations are not disrupted, it is eye-opening to see where the healthcare industry falls short.  Even with the high cost on the table, there is no reason healthcare cannot be more prepared.

The article offers a nice link to some of the major threats healthcare providers can be faced with, given hurricanes may not be important to everyone.  Pick your poison, but disaster will touch your facility eventually so plan for it now.