The Meals for All team often discusses building a culture of preparedness within your community. While there are many resources for building a culture of preparedness at home from FEMA to the American Red Cross, where is a great place to start for healthcare? The answer is your local healthcare coalition (HCC).
HCCs have regional designation throughout the Nation and their primary objective as defined by Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is to coordinate with their members to facilitate:
- Strategic planning
- Identification of gaps and mitigation strategies
- Operational planning and response
- Information sharing for improved situational awareness
- Resource coordination and management
Hospitals and public health agencies are active historic members of HCCs but they are not the only provider types which may join and contribute to these essential communities. After all, there is significant value in nurturing a diverse regional preparedness community with contributions along the continuum of care. Including all provider types under the CMS disaster rule from long-term care (LTC) facilities to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) clinics as well as organization which are not Medicare and Medicaid participating providers such as assisted living communities and food and nutrition services professionals, may not only add valuable insight but enhance regional communication strategies through relationship building.
Active participation in the local HCC can also assist all provider types to meet Four Core Elements of Emergency Preparedness as well as CMS Emergency Preparedness (EP) Rule by assisting with regional hazard vulnerability assessments, building regional communication plans and resources, as well as provide applicable training and testing. To identify a local healthcare coalition and learn more about healthcare readiness, visit the ASPR Health Care Readiness Program page, select your region followed by state or territory.
Communication is often a bottleneck in disaster response. Active participation in a regional HCC is a great step to build critical relationships, bolster your current disaster preparedness policies and ensuring your communities disaster plan is not your next disaster.
- Plan Ahead for Disasters | Ready.gov. (n.d.). https://www.ready.gov/
- Disaster Preparedness Plan. (n.d.). Make a Plan | Red Cross. https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/make-a-plan.html
- 2017-2022 Health Care Preparedness and Response Capabilities | Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, ASPR. https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/hpp/reports/Documents/2017-2022-healthcare-pr-capablities.pdf
- Providers/Suppliers Facilities Impacted by the Emergency Preparedness Rule | Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertEmergPrep/Downloads/17-Facility-Provider-Supplier-Types-Impacted.pdf
- Core EP Rule Elements | Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertEmergPrep/Core-EP-Rule-Elements
- Emergency Preparedness Rule | CMS. (n.d.). https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertEmergPrep/Emergency-Prep-Rule
- ASPR Health Care Readiness Near You. | HHS, Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) (N.d.). https://aspr.hhs.gov/HealthCareReadiness/HealthCareReadinessNearYou/Pages/default.aspx