New York’s hospitals and health care systems are a critical element within the disaster response system. IHA works to help ensure our member hospitals and health systems are prepared to respond to any potential threats to public health.
IHA has provided hospitals in our region and across the state with information, resources and services since inception of the federal hospital preparedness program in 2002. IHA works with federal, state and local agencies on behalf of hospital concerns, provides analysis of regulatory and grant requirements and best practice standards, and leads collaborative projects to enhance planning and response capabilities. Below are highlights of Iroquois projects and resources which have supported facility and health care system preparedness.
Continuity of Operations Planning
Iroquois is collaborating in a multi-year initiative to assist hospitals in development of continuity of operations plans. Based on findings of planning assessments and focus sessions, hospital associations recommended development of strategic planning courses provided in GY 2015-16 and GY 2016-17. Iroquois also leads a work group effort providing supportive guidance through each phase of planning.
Emergency Waiver Guidance
Iroquois collaborated with HANYS and other healthcare associations to develop and publish a guide which explains how to seek relief from statutes and regulations during emergencies (often referred to as “waivers”). After the events of the 2009 influenza pandemic, Hurricane Irene, and Superstorm Sandy, Iroquois and HANYS convened a workgroup of associations representing healthcare providers across the continuum of care to identify statutes and regulations that are likely to impede care during an emergency. In addition to listing potential statutory and regulatory barriers, the guide provides an overview of legal authorities, a description of the process for requesting waivers, and contact information.
- Temporary Suspension and Modification of Statutes and Regulations During Emergencies: A Guide for Healthcare Providers
Mutual Aid Plan
Iroquois developed a new mutual aid agreement among its member hospitals to support and maximize medical surge capacity and capability. The MOU addresses evacuation and transfer of patients; loaning of equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals; and communication and information sharing (MOU Summary). Hospitals were reimbursed $10,000 in HPP funding for executing the agreement in 2014 and 2015.
- Hospital Mutual Aid Memorandum of Understanding – Capital District Region and the Central Region of New York
Integrating Emergency Volunteers During Medical Surge
This document identifies key planning and operational considerations for managing emergency volunteers in hospitals. It includes a planning checklist, templates, guidance, and resources for integrating emergency volunteers during a medical surge event. Iroquois assembled a work group in 2013 to develop a hospital template plan for using emergency volunteers. Hospitals were reimbursed $4,500 for adopting their own plan, and $2,000 for workgroup participation. Based on recommendations of the work group, Iroquois developed comprehensive guidance for emergency volunteer planning and management which was updated in June, 2015.
96 Hour Sustainability Assessment Project
In 2012, Iroquois and HANYS developed a 96 Hour Sustainability Assessment framework for hospitals to determine sustainability periods and gaps for essential resources and assets, enabling the organization to make decisions relating to mitigation and plan review. Iroquois and HANYS developed analysis and calculation tools, guidance, and training to aid hospitals in the assessment process. Hospitals were reimbursed $5,000 in 2013 for conducting a 96 Hour Sustainability Assessment. The project framework and tools are scalable and modifiable based on facility operational needs (Overview). Project tools and resources include:
- 96 Hour Sustainability Assessment Chart – Visual analysis of sustainability periods and gaps that may impact operations.
- 96 Hour Sustainability Tool – Calculates the number of hours resources and assets may be sustained.
- Process for Determining Sustainability During Emergencies – An essential understanding of the methodology to calculate sustainability is provided in this September 2008 Inside ASHE article.
Active Shooter Planning Checklist, Recommendations and Resources
Iroquois assembled a multi-disciplinary work group to develop an active shooter plan template. Hospitals were reimbursed $4,500 for adopting an active shooter plan and $2,000 for work group participation. Iroquois developed guidance based on best practices, after action reviews, and recommendations by federal agencies identifying critical planning and response considerations for hospitals.
- Satellite Phones: Iroquois purchased fixed and mobile satellite phones, laptops, replacement batteries and accessories for rural hospitals throughout the state. Conducted connectivity exercises and provide ongoing assistance statewide for connectivity issues.
- Amateur Radios: Purchased 68 ham radios for all IHA members and all rural hospitals across the state to further ensure communication redundancy. Provided ongoing assistance and direction in operations, contacts and licensing.
- Mobile Command: Equipped a mobile communications command center to provide back-up communications to ten hospitals in the five county North Country RRC region.
- Data Sharing Analysis: Iroquois and HANYS designed a statewide survey in 2012 to assess what HERDS survey data would be most useful, if shared, in support of a hospital’s response to an incident through improved planning and decision making, and to query what data hospitals may be willing to share with regional partners. Hospitals indicate that certain data collected from facilities by NYSDOH could, if shared with them, provide information which could effectuate response capabilities.
- Capabilities Survey: Iroquois and HANYS designed and conducted a statewide survey of hospitals to identify hospital priorities and needs related to HPP capabilities and OHEP deliverables for the 2011-12 GY.
- Hospital Preparedness Program Informational Toolkit: Developed and distributed a hardcopy and electronic compendium of over 100 essential planning documents and key resources to assist emergency preparedness coordinators.
- CEO Summits: Conducted CEO Summits to educate executives on development and integration of emergency preparedness plans, and communicate with hospital executives on a regular basis.
- Visual Dx: Provided Visual Dx diagnostic and treatment software to hospitals for one year and facilitated discounted contracts for continuation post grant funding.
- Webcasts: Hosted webcasts on issues such as new Joint Commission emergency preparedness standards, after action review of response to the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic.
- Rural Hospital Preparedness: Identified and reported on barriers to meeting preparedness goals for rural hospitals and develop strategies to address.
- Best Practices: Conducted surveys and research to provide information to NYSDOH and hospitals relating to best practices and capabilities based planning.
Iroquois has contributed to state and federal preparedness priorities and initiatives through participation in workgroups such as:
- Federal Grant Realignment and Reauthorization
- Federal Target Capabilities Review Group
- NYSDOH Situational Awareness Work Group
- NYSDOH HPP Funding Strategy Work Group
- NYSDOH Informatics Governance Team
- NYSDOH Pandemic Influenza Planning Group
- NYSDOH Emergency Volunteer Registry Workgroup
- NYSDOH HERDS Redesign Work Group