Friday, September 02, 2005

Disaster Medical Response: Illinois

From Steve Frew's


To IHA / MCHC Member Hospitals -

As part of the emergency response to Hurricane Katrina, the American Hospital Association (AHA) held a conference call today in which Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt addressed the hospital industry. The purpose of this e-mail is to summarize that call and tell you what the next steps will be.

HHS is going to establish emergency medical facilities throughout the disaster area. These will be very basic facilities, with 250 cots each, staffed by 100 health care personnel. HHS expects to have 10 of these facilities up and running this week and 10 more by next week. Their goal is to establish 40 of these facilities. Patients will be triaged from the affected area into these facilities, stabilized and then transferred under the National Disaster Medical System Plan (NDMS) if needed.

HHS plans to staff the initial facilities with federally employed health care personnel. However, HHS will also need volunteer health care personnel from around the country to help staff these facilities. HHS has asked that hospitals help the effort by providing teams of health care personnel.

HHS has asked AHA and the state and metropolitan hospital associations to help coordinate the hospital response. The Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) and the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC) will participate in this endeavor.

As you can imagine, there are many logistical details that need to be addressed before hospitals can respond in an organized fashion. HHS and AHA are working on those details right now, and AHA will then communicate with state and metro associations - a call for hospital associations will be held tomorrow afternoon. IHA and MCHC will update members following that call, unless more information becomes available sooner.

In short, HHS is attempting to coordinate a response to a massive and unprecedented public health crisis. We know that our hospitals, physicians, nurses, and others are ready to assist. IHA and MCHC will keep our members informed about the latest developments.

For further information, contact YOUR STATE HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION


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