Emergency Preparedness Digest: March 30, 2017

Highlights from March's Emergency Preparedness Coordinating Council 

GNYHA's Emergency Preparedness Coordinating Council (EPCC) brings together providers, hospital and health system representatives, and government agency officials to discuss current and emerging emergency preparedness and response topics. All EPCC materials can be found on the GNYHA website.          

Overview and Lessons Learned from a Recent Explosive Incident Exercise at Bellevue Hospital Center 

Boyd Dixon, Emergency Preparedness Director at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, shared details of an exercise conducted at the hospital in early January. The exercise was developed at the request of Bellevue trauma surgeons in the aftermath of the September 2016 Chelsea bombing. The exercise, which tested the hospital's ability to deal with multiple waves of critical patients from a bombing incident, involved 23 departments throughout the hospital and was specifically designed to test capabilities beyond the emergency department. The exercise demonstrated the hospital's ability to rapidly assemble staff and run multiple operating rooms, but it also revealed certain supply issues. As a result of the exercise, Bellevue has changed its notification procedures for mass casualty incidents (MCIs) and formed three sub-groups to work on areas identified for improvement.

Upcoming Gotham Shield Exercise 

Murad Raheem, Field Supervisor, HHS Region II, Regional Emergency Coordinator Program, shared information about a national, FEMA-led exercise scheduled to take place from mid-April through early May. "Gotham Shield" is the name for a collection of smaller, separate exercises "to evaluate the whole community effort to prevent, protect from, respond to, and plan initial recovery after the effects of an Improvised Nuclear Device attack." The exercise will involve multiple Federal, State, and City agencies. New York City plans to activate its Emergency Operations Center on a single day of play, and test its ability to respond 24 hours after an initial attack. During the March EPCC meeting, participants brainstormed ways that a small number of hospitals could explore how facilities at various geographic distances from the point of detonation would likely respond.  GNYHA is working with various government response agencies to plan this complementary exercise.

CMS Conditions of Participation and Accreditation Organization Crosswalk -- A New Tool Developed by the Yale-New Haven Center for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response 

Eileen Blake, Associate Director, Post Award Management, Yale-New Haven Health System, shared a tool that the Yale-New Haven Center for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response recently developed. It is designed to help health care facilities understand the overlap between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Conditions of Participation for Emergency Preparedness and related standards from various accreditation organizations. Ms. Blake discussed the tool's genesis and how it was developed and tested. The Center plans to update the tool as more information becomes available. EPCC participants are urged to access the tool via the Center website or the ASPR Tracie CMS site for the most up-to-date version. GNYHA is also maintaining a webpage focused on the CMS Final Rule, which contains this and other resources.

Current and Recent Emergency Preparedness Issues 

Pilot Joint Law Enforcement Assessment Visits 

In late February, GNYHA organized pilot site visits to Bellevue and NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County to bring together multiple Federal agencies to conduct a combined hospital assessment visit (as opposed to multiple, separate visits). The pilot visits were successful from both the agency and hospital perspective, and there is interest in expanding the program. 

Patient Movement Workgroup Update 

GNYHA and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) co-host a workgroup to improve patient evacuations. Members have identified initiatives to focus on based on experiences during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Work in three areas -- developing standardized bed categories to facilitate bed matching during evacuations, improving completeness of transfer forms that will accompany an evacuating patient, and facilitating access to the medical record post-transfer -- is nearly complete. GNYHA is developing a toolkit that will contain all resources developed to address these areas. Additionally, in late April, representatives from GNYHA and DOHMH will present on the Patient Movement Workgroup at the annual Joint Commission Emergency Preparedness Conference. 

Upcoming Trainings  

  • On April 4, GNYHA and the Healthcare Association of New York State will conduct a facilitated discussion on cyberattacks. The exercise will bring together a small number of member hospitals with representatives from various law enforcement and regulatory agencies. The exercise will explore interactions among these agencies and hospitals during various phases of a cyberattack incident 
  • On April 27, CMS will host a training call focused on the new CMS Final Rule on Emergency Preparedness. The call is appropriate for providers and suppliers affected by the final rule, state survey agencies, health care coalitions, and state emergency preparedness officials. The call will be held from 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. (EST). Registration is available here
  • On May 4, GNYHA will host a half-day training session targeting Emergency Department frontline staff. The session will focus on the operational aspects of the first two to three hours of a response to a significant MCI. An MCI scenario will be presented at the beginning of the training, followed by a series of speakers from area hospitals and New York City response agencies who will discuss various aspects of the response. The training will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registration is available at http://www.gnyha.org/calendar.
  • On May 12, GNYHA will host a half-day training session for hospital security directors. Instructors from the New York Police Department's SHIELD Counterterrorism Unit will offer two back-to-back companion courses, Terrorism Awareness for Security Professionals and Detecting Hostile Surveillance. Please note that participants are asked to attend both courses. The course information is applicable to hospital security directors from across the region. The training will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Registration is available at http://www.gnyha.org/calendar


For questions or suggestions related to any of the above activities, please contact Jenna Mandel-Ricci at (212) 258-5314.