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Emergency Evacuation…Are you Prepared?

The safety and well-being of your patients, staff and community can be critical to survival

You never know where you’ll be when a disaster may strike. Recent flooding events in Northern California have shined a light on emergency evacuations. Many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is so essential. Disasters come in all sizes and shapes including fire or smoke, severe weather, loss of power, earthquake, explosion, bomb threats, armed individuals, gas leak, loss of heat, and loss of normal water supply. In crisis situations, we are all dependent on each other.

The recent Oroville Dam structural collapse created a hazardous situation for the downstream communities and the town of Oroville. Emergency evacuation was required, and it involved the immediate movement of 200,000 people. Forced evacuations put the spotlight on healthcare systems and the need to protect the elderly and vulnerable members of a community. Emergency management encompasses all disciplines in healthcare communities.

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Did you know that you are only as prepared as your community in the event of a disaster?

How hospital communities can work together in an emergency to save lives

In the case of a hurricane or tropical storm, your patients, staff and family member’s physical safety is your first concern, so it’s important for you to prepare an emergency plan, in advance. But even if your facility is not directly hit by a disaster, your neighborhood or community could be affected for several days or longer by power outages, blocked roads, and damage to grocery stores, gas stations, and other businesses.

Your healthcare will be a beacon of safety for your community. Is your facility prepared in case of a disaster? Is your neighbor prepared? Is your community prepared? Do you have a plan? What does it take to be prepared? What type of resources are available to you in YOUR community? These are all the questions you need to ask BEFORE an emergency strikes.

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CMS Finalizes Rule to Bolster Emergency Preparedness – Part One

By Lee Tincher, MS, RDN

President, Meals for All, Inc.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finally released the long-expected final Rule for health care emergency preparedness. CMS wants to ensure that all healthcare providers and facilities have an emergency preparedness plan in place at all times. This new Rule has been in development from shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Recent disasters from hurricanes in New York, New Jersey and Florida to flooding in North Carolina and Louisiana to wildfires in the west have forced the evacuation of many hospitals and health care facilities. These disasters put the health and safety of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries — and the public at large — at risk. “Situations like the recent flooding remind us in the event of an emergency, the first priority of health care providers and suppliers is to protect the health and safety of their patients,” said CMS Deputy Director and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, MD. “Preparation, planning and one comprehensive approach for emergency preparedness is key. One life lost is one too many.” 

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