Disaster Preparedness May Call for a Public-Private Partnership Approach

Large health care systems often have detailed disaster preparedness plans. However, they alone can only do so much. An article in Modern Healthcare advocates for community-level preparedness where the public and public sector partner with the systems for disaster preparedness.

As reported on Modern Healthcare:

Yet, the data show individuals just don’t care that much about being prepared for a disaster. Healthcare Ready’s 2016 survey on disaster preparedness found only 25% of adults have discussed a plan and even fewer, 18%, have an emergency survival kit. Even relatively easy tasks like keeping track of one’s medicines are not a priority, with less than half of Americans able to list all of their prescriptions.

Who does plan? The majority of large healthcare systems have robust business continuity programs, and every facility accredited by the Joint Commission is required to certify they meet minimum levels of preparedness. But the lack of individual planning makes the job of hospitals, health systems and emergency responders more difficult. Not only must providers plan for continuity among loss of power and critical supplies, they must plan for mass casualty events and, increasingly, help people manage chronic health conditions that could worsen and drive acute incidences.

Even more requirements may be on the horizon as the CMS considers a rule to require providers and health systems to establish emergency plans across 17 types of healthcare settings. Providers plan not just because it makes good business sense, but because they recognize their responsibility to their communities.

New approaches to community resiliency involve government entities partnering with private enterprises to develop plans prioritizing how critical services such as power, healthcare and communications will be restored.

In a sector like healthcare, this coordination is critical because of the sheer number of groups involved. Providers of care include nurses, doctors, hospitals, nursing facilities, assisted living centers, home care staffers and pharmacists. They all need access to medications, durable supplies, oxygen, and other materials provided in a timely manner. They need healthcare distributors to get them products. They need power and communications to perform critical services. They need passable and safe roads. Restoring critical services like theses can only be done in partnership between government and private industry.

For more information read the full article on Modern Healthcare.

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