June 1 marks the beginning of the North Atlantic hurricane season, with the highest probability for storms in the New York region falling between early August and late November. While much effort remains focused on the COVID-19 response, GNYHA members are urged to prepare for this threat.

We anticipate hospitals still will be experiencing impacts of COVID-19 during coastal storm season, including the need to maintain social distancing measures and the use of strict infection prevention and control processes. We ask hospitals and health care facilities to consider these expected impacts while reviewing their coastal storm plans and the resources outlined below.

DOH Facility Evacuation Planning Application and Critical Asset Survey

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has extended the deadline (attached) for completing the Facility Evacuation Planning Application (FEPA) and the Critical Asset Survey to May 31. All hospitals, nursing homes, and adult care facilities in New York City are asked to complete these planning activities by the new deadline. Your responses will inform coastal storm planning efforts by enabling DOH, GNYHA, and other regional response partners to prepare for patient and resident movement when needed and better understand the region’s receiving capacity.

Key Resources

While hospitals and health systems across the region continuously improve their readiness, GNYHA encourages all members to consult key resources and review relevant internal plans as we enter coastal storm season. Conversations with government response partners on how to adjust plans due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak are ongoing. As adjustments occur, GNYHA will share details with member hospitals.

  • All New York State facilities are encouraged to review the attached DOH Healthcare Facility Evacuation Center (HEC) Metropolitan Area Regional Office Facility Guidance Document for the 2020 Coastal Storm Season, which can be accessed via the DOH Health Commerce System.
  • NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM) is working with health care sector partners to adapt existing coastal storm planning documents and resources to include COVID-19 pandemic planning considerations. Resources will be shared with health care partners upon completion.
  • Facilities in New York City also are encouraged to review GNYHA’s 2019 Community Evacuation and Sheltering Operations Guide (attached), which details New York City’s sheltering system, including Special Medical Needs Shelters, New York City’s Homebound Evacuation Operation, and the Post-Emergency Canvassing Operation. NYCEM may update the document as plan adaptations occur due to COVID-19.
  • Facilities also may wish to review additional resources, including GNYHA’s Patient Evacuation Toolkit and the Developing a Surge Plan to Accommodate Medically Vulnerable Community Members guide. The Patient Evacuation Toolkit was developed via a collaborative workgroup process and includes resources that address patient bed matching, the availability of critical clinical and demographic information in the transport process, and the sharing of medical information between sending and receiving facilities. The Community Member Sheltering Template is designed to help hospitals modify existing surge plans to accommodate medically vulnerable members of the community who may seek assistance or be brought to the facility.
  • Additional tools for rapid patient discharge for receiving and evacuating facilities and surge tools for receiving facilities can be found on the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Emergency Preparedness Resources for Hospitals webpage.

GNYHA Sit Stat 2.0

GNYHA continues to develop its Sit Stat 2.0 platform to support coastal storm operations. Areas of focus include: 1) understanding key actions taken by hospitals, 2) understanding current and anticipated impacts on hospital operations, and 3) facilitating patient bed-matching within and outside of health system arrangements. The last objective was tested during New York City’s February SurgeEx 2020 exercise. Following SurgeEx, we planned to discuss refining the content and design of the survey. We will have these discussions later; however, we remain confident that the current survey supports patient bed matching.

To align regional efforts around bed matching, including use of Sit Stat 2.0, GNYHA, in collaboration with DOH, is developing a protocol for how the HEC can remain informed of bed-matching activity taking place outside of its operations. GNYHA will keep members informed of these efforts.

The most up-to-date bed definitions, which were used during New York City’s SurgeEx 2020, can be found in the Sit Stat 2.0 Document Library along with the coastal storm operational survey templates. Facilities participating in GNYHA’s Sit Stat 2.0 program should use these definitions for planning purposes and review the surveys in preparation for coastal storm season. We also encourage facilities, as they complete their FEPA, to update their Sit Stat 2.0 Resource Detail View.

If a coastal storm threatens the New York region, GNYHA will share relevant information with members, monitor member impacts through the Sit Stat 2.0 situational awareness platform, and activate our own emergency staffing plan to meet member needs.